In New Documentary, Michael Phelps Reveals How Swimming World Photo Served as Motivation


In New Documentary, Michael Phelps Reveals How Swimming World Photo Served as Motivation

In the new Peacock-released documentary, “Michael Phelps: Medals, Memories & More,” the 28-time Olympic medalist reveals that he used an image from Swimming World Magazine as motivation following the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona. The revelation comes as Phelps discusses his career with NBC broadcasters Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines, who will again work together at this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

In the 100-meter butterfly at the 2003 World Champs, Phelps engaged in a game of world-record hot potato with fellow American Ian Crocker and Ukrainian Andriy Serdinov. In the first semifinal on July 25, Serdinov set a world record of 51.76, only to have Phelps wipe that mark from the books in the second semifinal, an effort of 51.47 doing the trick.

Ian Crocker

Photo Courtesy: Swimming World Magazine October 2003

The next night, during the final, it was Crocker’s turn to grab the record, and he did so in spectacular fashion. Having never broken the 52-second barrier previously, Crocker blazed to a time of 50.98, with Phelps right behind in 51.10. Serdinov took the bronze medal in 51.59. It was a dazzling show, with the result providing Phelps with motivation heading into the 2004 Olympic campaign.

So for me, I’m somebody that always remembers my losses more than I remember my wins. I wanted to relive that moment that whole entire next year. What I did was, I got a Swimming World and I put (Crocker’s) face up on the wall just to see and to feel that moment of whether it was defeat, whether it was me not being prepared or whatever it was. I was not going to have that feeling again when I had the chance.”

Indeed, Phelps reversed the outcome at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, as he tracked down Crocker in the closing meters to capture the gold medal in 51.25, with his countryman touching the wall in 51.29.

Phelps is known for drawing motivation from his defeats or doubts cast in his direction. In addition to using the Crocker loss as fuel, he roared to eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing after Australian legend Ian Thorpe suggested that type of medal haul was unattainable.

Cover Rivalry? – Phelps was on the cover of Swimming World the month before Crocker.  Also, read our review for Medals, Memories & More.

Phelps-Sept 2003

Photo Courtesy: Swimming World Magazine September 2003