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Michael Phelps – After He Was Famous

After They Were Famous

Michael Phelps – After He Was Famous

AFTER Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympic athlete in history, recently winning his 19th gold medal in Rio.

AFTER Michael Phelps dated model and pageant queen Nicole Johnson in 2009, broke it off, and then got engaged years later.

AFTER the Baltimore Bullet became a national hero with a net worth of 55 million dollars, and inspired a generation of kids to hop in the pool.

AFTER Michael Phelps tried his hand at acting, but decided to stick to swimming after falling flat on SNL.

Michael Phelps was on top of the world after his flawless sweep at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But perfection isn’t an easy image to uphold with the press breathing down your neck. A photo of him taking a hit from a bong got leaked and became a huge scandal, resulting in dropped sponsorships and a suspension. He also had multiple DUIs, and was slammed in headlines for hooking up with an intersex woman.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that! These slip-ups and scandals would continue to be blown way out of proportion, turning Phelps into a cynical recluse on a downward spiral. 

Michael Fred Phelps II was born on June 30 1985 in Baltimore Maryland. He started swimming when he was 7 to help with his ADHD and turned out to be a natural. His mother Debbie was a school principal, and his sisters Whitney and Hilary followed along to every major competition he was in. His parents divorced when he was 9 and Michael would later struggle with the abandonment he felt from his father.

By the time he was 10 Michael was breaking national records and began training with Bob Bowman, his current coach who soon became a father figure. Under his guidance Phelps improved drastically and was able to qualify for the 2000 Sydney Olympics at age 15, becoming the youngest American Olympian in 70 years.

He failed to get a medal then, but continued to compete in World Championships leading up to the next Sumer Olympics. In the 4 years he was able to win 8 gold medals and set 5 World Records. When he finally went to Athens in 2004, Phelps was phenomenal, taking home 6 gold for the USA.

That kind of fame and money can be tricky for a 19 year old to handle, and it was getting harder and harder to live his life outside of the public eye. In November he was caught drunk driving close to his home in Baltimore and pleaded guilty. Phelps got 18 months probation, a small fine and had to speak against drinking and driving to some high school kids. Miraculously, the slip up wasn’t widely publicized.

Leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Phelps was en route to take home 8 gold medals. His idol, Ian Thorpe said it couldn’t be done and sat in the stands when this happened.

Phelps was untouchable, and left China with 8 gold medals and a whole lot of sponsorships. He had so much cash being thrown his way he started up the Michael Phelps Foundation as well as a Swimming School.

He was a national hero. That is until the infamous British tabloid News of the World published a picture of him smoking cannabis out of a bong. It may be pretty standard stuff for most 23 year olds, but when your face is on cereal boxes, it’s a pretty big deal. Kellogg’s cancelled their contract with him and USA Swimming banned him from competing for 3 months and pulled their funding.

The backlash from his fans was so harsh, he considered sitting out the 2012 London Olympics. He ended up going and took home 6 medals, although it wasn’t the performance he had back in 2008. Phelps had talked about retirement throughout the games but unfortunately the young guy was way too good at making money and couldn’t walk away yet. So after a short break he hit the pool once again in 2013.

With pressure mounting on the national star, Michael found himself in a pretty dark place. He was mentally checked out from his swimming career but forced himself to continue training. He would miss workouts, sleeping in and spend his nights drinking and gambling at the nearby casino. Then in September 2014 he got caught with his second DUI.

USA Swimming pulled him from the World Aquatic Championships that year and slapped a 6-month suspension on him. Both his mother and coach feared the world was becoming too much for Michael, who was having suicidal thoughts. He started rehab that October in a 45-day program. Then just as he was getting ready to leave, a weird headline splashed across tabloids. 

“Michael Phelps’ intersex girl turned with mixed genitalia”

The woman in question, Taylor Lianne Chandler claimed to have hooked up with the Olympian during halftime at a Baltimore Ravens game. Again there are no pictures to prove this even ever happened, so it got swept under the rug pretty quickly.

Phelps has been clean since his DUI and his training is going better than ever. In February 2015 Phelps announced his engagement with model and pageant queen Nicole Johnson, who was definitely not born with male parts. The two had met years earlier and broke up for a spell in 2012 but were now back on track. They have a cute baby boy named Boomer who’s been watching his dad in the stands at Rio.

His level of fame has turned him into a bit of a recluse. He and his fiance mostly stay at home because any time he leaves he gets flooded with admirers. Plus after that whole bong incident he learned privacy isn’t something he can count on outside of home.

As for the rest of the story, well we will have to wait and see because this is After They Were Famous.

 





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