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Swimming superstar visits Burbank kids

September 8, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Gold Medal Olympian Michael Phelps was in Burbank visiting the Boys and Girls Club on Monday. While speaking to the kids, the eight-time gold medalist said he did not consider himself the best athlete in the world. He said that title belongs to the likes of Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Roger Federer.

The kids got to ask Phelps a few questions. And when asked what he thinks about before he dives into the pool for a race, Phelps replied that his mind is completely clear and completely calm.

Phelps said since the Olympics, life has been a whirlwind. However, he also said he is "living a dream."

"I practice anywhere from three to five or three to six hours a day," said Phelps to the Burbank Boys and Girls club kids on Monday.

Phelps has become arguably the most talked-about athlete in the United States. Phelps was also featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show on Monday. He was alongside the nearly 200 other U.S. Olympians.

Monday, at the Boys and Girls Club, Phelps encouraged the kids to use their imaginations to the fullest. He also told them to dream big in anything and everything they do, and to never give up.

"I'd like to raise the bar in the sport of swimming and start by having more people be water safe and more people be comfortable around the water," said Phelps. "And I think the people who are afraid to be around a pool, or be around the ocean ... and I think for water safety, I think it is one thing that I hopefully get more people involved with and have them be comfortable around the water. So, I think that's a way to get people to start exercising more."

"I like when he says that he's been swimming since he was seven. And sports is his favorite thing to watch," said Casey Galloway, student.

"He says things that just make you motivated ... that makes you just want to swim," said Tamara Chehata, student.

Michael Phelps launched his foundation last week, which includes an education program called "Dream Plan and Reach." Phelps said he wants to reach out to kids to teach them to plan, to set goals and to be disciplined. He said that doesn't necessarily apply just to the Olympics, but to just be successful in life.

 

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