Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis in 2013
Courtesy of: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
BALTIMORE, Maryland, January 24. IT'S no secret that Baltimore sports greats Michael Phelps and Ray Lewis are close friends. But an article in the Washington Post details a new aspect of their relationship, with the Baltimore Ravens linebacker acting as motivator for the Olympic legend in the years leading up to the London Olympics.

Phelps, who visited Lewis on Sunday after the Ravens defeated the New England Patriots to earn a spot in the Super Bowl, gave Lewis the credit for keeping him on track during the years leading up to his final Olympic appearance.

"What he did for me is the best thing in the world," Phelps said in the Washington Post article. "He helped me come back."

The article does not mention the impact Phelps' more publicly-known members of his circle have had on getting him to the status of Greatest Olympian of All Time, including coach Bob Bowman and his mother and sisters. Phelps said Lewis was the person he consulted most when things were rough, either in training or personally.

"He just helped me get through a lot of hard times, and I wouldn't have been able to do it without him. He's been telling me, 'One more shot. We're gonna have one more shot.' And he did it."

Phelps became the second American swimmer -- alongside Jason Lezak -- to compete in four Olympic Games. He ended his career with 22 Olympic medals, 18 of which were gold.

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