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Michael Phelps in Paris: "Saving a life is worth more than a gold medal"


For an hour, the American swimming legend answered questions from fans in Paris, retracing the best moments of his career.

He is a man who could walk around with around sixty Olympic and world medals in his suitcase.

But Michael Phelps, retired since 2016, showed up in Paris without his charms on Thursday.

Guest star of the first "Demain le sport" festival, organized at the Maison de la radio by three media (France Info, France TV and L'Équipe), the American swimmer concluded a day devoted to the physical, the mental and all the issues related to high-level sport.

The word of Michael Phelps is rare on French soil.

Especially on this model of a one-hour conference during which this big guy of 1.93 m answered questions (planned beforehand) from a dozen fans seated in studio 104, historic of the House of the radio.

A "masterclass" started with his first memories of swimming when he was still "afraid of water" before moving on to memories of Olympic titles and his recipe for success.

"In sport, if you take a day off, it takes two more to get back to the level before"

“For five or six years, I did not miss a single day of training, assures the record holder of Olympic medals (28 including 23 gold).

I wanted to do something that no one had done before me.

In sport, if you take a day off, it takes two more to get back to your previous level.

I want to move forward at the end of each day, not back.

And if I didn't do it, someone else on Earth would have done it.

I wanted to give myself this chance.


Smiling, with his typical American banter, Michael Phelps chained anecdotes about his former French opponents like Franck Esposito, faced at barely 15 years old, or Alain Bernard, "who did not swim straight enough" on the last moments of the 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay in Beijing in 2008 (finally won by the Americans by 8 hundredths).

Until a thought for one of the new stars of world swimming, the French Léon Marchand.

“I hope to keep my records for another year…”, he laughs.

Read alsoLéon Marchand, a champion in the line of Phelps: “I always told myself that I wanted to be the best”…

But this father of three children also mentioned one of the expected topics of the day: his phases of depression, repeated during his career and after.

“Since the Covid, the subject of mental health has appeared more and more, rejoices the director of the documentary

The weight of gold


I feel like people take longer to think about themselves.

I don't know if I could have talked about it during my career.

I don't know if my coach would have allowed it.

At the end of my career, I saw many therapists and benefited from the help of many people.


Michael Phelps wishes to return the favor, through these conferences and other speeches.

“I want to change things,” he concludes.

We have lost too many Olympic medalists to suicide.

I want to help people.

Saving a life is worth more than an Olympic gold medal.

I hope my voice carries.

I want to use the resources at my fingertips to do this.


Source: leparis

All sports articles on 2022-09-22

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