Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Many Faces of ADHD: Michael Phelps, Olympic Gold Medalist

by Eileen Bailey

Michael Phelps was born June 30, 1985 in Baltimore MD. He enjoys football, music and video games. He became a professional swimmer at the age of 16. Michael was also the younger male world record holder in modern history. In he 2007 FINA World Championships he won seven gold medals and shattered five world records. At the Olympics in Beijing, he is hoping to break Mark Spitz's record and win eight gold medals. (In the 2004 Olympics, he won eight medals: 6 Gold and 2 Bronze).

Michael Phelps has ADHD. He was diagnosed at the age of 9 years old. Michael's mother, in an interview for WJZ in Baltimore MD., discussed his diagnosis and some of the difficulties he has overcome in his life. Michael was hyperactive as a child, according to his mother he "never sat still, never closed his mouth, was always asking questions, always jumping from one thing to another."

Although he started medication and behavior modification, he stopped medication by age 11 and instead ADHD symptoms were managed through tightly managing his time and swimming. According to his mother, swimming helped because, "it's very regimented. There's time management build into that component, there's set things you do sequentially."

A blog on pinpoints one of the reasons Michael Phelps is a winner is because of his ability to hyperfocus. He is often described as having a laser-like focus when swimming and has a level of concentration not often seen. Michael has the physical characteristics to make swimming the perfect sport, he has the training and the family support. He also has the mental focus that allows him to rise levels above other swimmers and break world records.

As of the writing of this Share Post, Michael Phelps has won two gold medals in the Beijing Olympics, one for the Men's 400m Individual Medley and one for the 4 x 100 Freestyle Relay.