Kids at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne on Thursday got a chance to hear the most decorated Olympic athlete in history talk about how they can achieve their dreams.
Speaking to a group of more than 20 kids, reporters and Boys & Girls Clubs employees, Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps talked about his dreams and goals when he was growing up and how he worked to achieve them.
“Everybody has a dream as a child. … We have something we really want to do, really want to accomplish, no matter what it is,” he said. “I wanted to become an Olympic champion, a world-record holder and a professional athlete.”
To accomplish that dream, Phelps said he and his coach came up with a plan for how he was going to get there and started working, training 365 days a year for five or six years.
“If you want to be the best, you have to do things others won’t do,” he said, telling the kids that when they run into difficulty or fail, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help.
“Trust me – I was afraid to ask one of my best friends to take me to the grocery store because I thought he was going to say no. It’s funny, but it’s true. I was afraid to do it because I didn’t want him to say no, but it’s OK, it’s OK if somebody can’t help you at that very moment, but you’ll never know until you ask.”
Phelps also briefly touched on the eight to 10-week “im” program developed by the Michael Phelps Foundation for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to teach members how to swim, how to practice water safety and to encourage healthy lifestyles.
“It’s amazing for my ‘im’ program to be able to reach over 10,000 people – most of them kids – in not only the country, in the world, to be water safe,” he said. “We’re in 35 states, hoping to get to every single one, so our goals are endless of what we want to do and to be able to have the excitement that you have here, there’s nothing like it.”