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‘Felt like the worst mom’: Debbie, the mother of Michael Phelps, felt helpless when she kept getting calls about his behavior at school

Michael Phelps’ poolside journey began when he was seven years old. The Baltimore boy didn’t get into swimming to pursue a professional career, but to use his extra energy. Following in his sister’s footsteps, Phelps’ love affair with water earned him multiple accreditations! He was just fifteen when he made his Olympic debut.


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His mother, Ms. Debbie Phelps, who has been with his son through thick and thin, could hardly imagine that his son would soon emerge as a swimming GOAT. From feeling like that “worst mom in the world” to be exceptionally proud, Debbie’s journey has been no less than Phelps’. With three children to care for, Michael’s mother is reminiscing.


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It wasn’t easy for Phelps’ mother

Phelps would never have dreamed of taking swimming lessons if his mother weren’t there. By the age of seven he hated getting his face wet. It was his mother’s constant encouragement and support that kept him going. As such, his diagnosis of ADHD in sixth grade was a heartbreaking moment for Debbie.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 12: Michael Phelps of the United States competes in the men’s 200m individual medley at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on August 12, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
(Photo by Okan Ozer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Because of ADHD, Phelps was always hyperactive. As quoted by his mother, “He slung his desk on his shoulders and carried it, running around the classroom while the other kids laughed.” It was difficult for the boy to sit up straight. Because of all this, his mother kept getting calls from the principal’s office.


“Swimmer’s Path Isn’t Always Olympic Path” Michael Phelps’ mother has always been aware of the risk involved in her children’s dreams

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Debbie said: “The teachers insisted he was bright, but he just couldn’t sit still.. She “felt like the worst mother.” The teachers told her that “He couldn’t concentrate on anything” However, the mother was determined to prove everyone wrong. And she proved everyone wrong. Here’s how?

The Pillar of Strength by Michael Phelps


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Debbie knew that working with Michael.” he was able to achieve anything he set his mind to.” A teacher herself, Debbie, began working with Michael. If a teacher said Michael couldn’t do something, she would question her by saying, “What are you doing to help him?”

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 13: Nicole Johnson, fiancee of Michael Phelps – holds their baby son Boomer Phelps – and Debbie Phelps, Michael’s mother, cheer him and his teammates during their day’s win in the 4 x 100m medley relay of the Men’s 8 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Swimming Olympic Stadium on August 13, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

She hired a tutor for Michael and encouraged him to pique Michael’s interest using word problems. She developed and used various strategies and planned to help her son maintain his focus. Debbie kept reminding Michael of the consequences of his behavior.


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Check out this story: Resurfaced video shows Michael Phelps Race of the Century with Ian Thorpe, Pieter Van Den Hoogenband at Athens 2004 Olympics

Undoubtedly, his mother’s constant support helped him overcome the barriers. So when he won his first gold medal in Athens, he did the right thing. Expressing his gratitude, the little boy left his winner’s platform and went to his mother. A moment close to her heart!

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