Synopses & Reviews
A vibrant portrait of American swimmer Michael Phelps—the dominant athlete at the 2004 Olympics—who has relentlessly pushed himself, promoted his sport, and appears poised to ultimately accumulate the most gold medals in Olympic history
Before he was old enough to have a drivers license, Michael Phelps had a world record. Before he ever took a college class or turned 20, he had earned distinction by winning 8 medals—6 gold and 2 bronze—at the Athens Olympics, the most in non-boycotted Games. Along the way, he captivated an American television audience and confounded the critics who questioned his ambition.
• provides the most revealing look yet at a young man who became a world-class athlete before he had the chance to grow up—by respected Baltimore Sun journalist Paul McMullen, who followed Phelpss rise from an obscure 14-year-old to the most scrutinized competitor at the worlds biggest sporting event
• details the plotting of his career, from turning professional at age 16, to the management of the first crises he encountered Paul McMullens 5 years of observation add dramatic context to the life of a young athlete whose rise to prominence coincided with the tumult of the first Summer Olympics after 9/11. No Olympian has ever earned 10 gold medals in a career, but Michael Phelps is on pace to achieve that milestone at the 2008 Games in Beijing, China.
"Americans don't often go crazy about swimmers, but when young Michael Phelps took eight medals six gold and two bronze at the 2004 Athens Olympics, people got excited. Before long, Phelps's ads for Speedo and his other sponsors were plastering billboards around the globe. To understand Phelps's phenomenal rise, McMullen, a sportswriter for the Baltimore Sun, has assembled a month-by-month retelling of Phelps's career in 2004. Occasionally, McMullen reports a spat between Phelps and his trainer, or what Phelps ate after a race, but he has little insight into Phelps's personality or interests. Instead, McMullen explores side issues the Munich 1972 Olympics, doping scandals, nutritional supplements, 9/11 which, granted, are usually more interesting than racing times. McMullen's writing style ('The coach took a knee and placed his mouth a foot from Michael's left ear') suggests a normally terse sports writer trying to pad out his prose. For more of Phelps's story, readers might look to his memoir, Michael Phelps: Beneath the Surface." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
PAUL McMULLEN, a writer at the Baltimore Sun
since 1981, is the author of the critically acclaimed Maryland Basketball: Tales from the Cole Field House
. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.