Michael Phelps wanted to play football instead of swim as a teenager


Michael Phelps is one the greatest Olympic athletes in history, but we’ll never know how close he came to being an NFL star because his mom wouldn’t let him.

According to Deborah Phelps, her son envied his buddies and was dying to play football when he was growing up. But mother knows best, or more accurately, mom was playing the odds. Deborah continued to steer her son to the pool, and the rest is Olympic medal history.

“When he told me he wanted to play football, I didn’t say, ‘No, you have to swim,” his mother Debbie Phelps said. “I told him, ‘Only a small percentage of varsity football players get a scholarship to a D-I school and an even smaller percentage make the NFL.’ Then I told him, ‘Think about what you have already accomplished in your sport and where you could possibly go.’ I thought the best way of teaching would be to explain his options and help him make the right choice.”

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Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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