We admire the success of great athletes, but often do not think about how difficult their path to success was. In this article, you will read about three professional athletes who had to overcome themselves and difficult circumstances to rise to the top of sports Olympus.
1. Michael Phelps
American swimmer Michael Phelps is the sole holder of 22 Olympic gold medals. But few people know that behind victories in competitions is the most important struggle of his whole life.
At the age of 9, the athlete was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In the world, about 7% of people suffer from it.
The disease manifests itself in a lack of concentration. Children with this condition do not know how to control emotions, they cannot remain calm even for several minutes. In society, they have a difficult time. These people have no friends, and for teachers, their behaviour is a real horror. According to his mother, Phelps was just that.
But Deborah was a teacher by education, so she knew better than others that everyone, even the most eccentric child, could be approached . Besides using the medications prescribed by doctors, Deborah developed methods to help her son prepare for social life.
Michael refused to read, did not want to study, the only thing that interested him was sports. The mother took this into account, so she offered her son to read sports magazines, and she redid the math problems so that athletes would appear in them.
At the age of 10, Michael competed in a children’s swimming competition and came second. The loss caused the child to have the tantrums typical of people with ADHD. After this incident, Deborah and Michael invented a special sign to help Phelps calm down. During competitions, his mother would show the athlete the letter “C” with her hands, which meant “compose yourself.” The woman always resorted to this method when her son couldn’t help himself. The symbol became an external stop sign for Michael, controlling his emotions.
For people with ADHD, experts advise them to build schedules, make plans, and add structure to life. Swimming became Phelps’ main occupation. He did not miss trips to the pool even on holidays and swam every day.
Naturally, without the help of his mother, Michael could not have achieved outstanding success. After receiving the first gold medal at the Athens Olympics, Michael gave the laurel wreath to Deborah.
2. Mike Tyson
Tyson during his career became the Olympic champion among juniors and the absolute world champion. He was a many-time champion in The Ring, WBA, IBF, WBC. His younger counterparts have not been able to break many of the records of the quick knockout master until now. However, the path to success for this great boxer was also not easy.
Tyson grew up without a father, his childhood was spent in an atmosphere where shots in the streets and howling sirens were commonplace. In early childhood, Mike was very vulnerable and could not stand up for himself. He was offended by his peers, courtyard boys and even his older brother.
Mike’s only hobby was pigeon keeping. One day, a hooligan in front of the boy’s eyes tore off the head of one of his birds. Mike was so furious that he not only beat the offender but also managed to get others to respect himself.
Tyson earned a reputation as a brawler and merged into typical Brownsville life: robberies, gangs, cool clothes. The police station managed to become a second home for him, as well as establishments for juvenile delinquents. In one of these establishments, Tyson managed to see Muhammad Ali, who came there to communicate with difficult teenagers. It was after this meeting that Mike first thought about a career as a boxer.
At the age of 13, Tyson, who even then could lift a 100-kilogram barbell in the bench press, was sent to a special school for juvenile delinquents. A former boxer Bobby Stewart worked there as a physical education teacher, who began to train Tyson on the condition that he would not violate discipline and improve his school performance. Tyson, who was previously considered mentally retarded, managed to noticeably pull himself up in his studies.
After a while, Stewart realized that the student had already outgrown him, and introduced Mike to the legendary trainer Cus D’Amato. From that moment on, Tyson’s life changed.
Cus immediately announced that Mike would become the youngest world heavyweight champion, but for that, he needed to start living like a champion. And Tyson began to train daily with Cus, go to school, strengthen the psyche and broaden his horizons. Then he realized that physical strength is only 10% of boxing. Everything else is psychology.
Cus replaced Tyson’s father and, when Mike’s mother died, took over custody, taking the boy to his home.
The young man’s sports career began at the age of 15. He very quickly defeated opponents, exerting psychological pressure and delivering crushing blows. Sports fans began to place bets on his victories (you can find the rating of the best bookmakers for boxing bets on Meta.reviews).
By this time, Mike had firmly learned that he would become the youngest world champion. And he succeeded. At 20, he won the coveted heavyweight title. Largely thanks to Cus D’Amato, who taught Tyson how to be a champion and believed in him.
3. Michael Jordan
As a teenager, the future basketball star lacked the stature and strength to play the sport. At 15, his height was 175 cm. This is normal for a teenager, but not enough for a future champion. So Jordan devoted all his free time to perfecting his jump.
He dreamed of joining the high school basketball team, but the coach preferred to recruit older and stronger guys there. This made Michael very upset and forced him to train even harder.
Over the summer, he grew by 10 cm and in the tenth grade managed to play for the school American football team, participated in track and field competitions, and also played baseball. Michael did all this to prove to himself and those around him that he was the best.
In 11th grade, the coach, impressed by Jordan’s speed and dedication, still took him to the high school basketball team.
Later, Jordan entered the University on an athletic scholarship. Almost immediately he entered the top of the local team. However, the athlete dropped out of training to become a professional NBA player and play for the Chicago Bulls.
Yet, Michael’s difficulties were just beginning. NBA veterans were unhappy with the fact that he achieved success so quickly, and even declared him a kind of boycott – they did not give passes on the court. But Michael was not going to give up. Even under strong pressure, Jordan managed to get the league’s best rookie title. He set record after record and gradually became the leader of the team.
Opponents, fearing Jordan, began to play against him as hard as possible. Then Michael built up his muscles so as not to feel painful blows.
Thanks to his incredible tenacity, ability not to give up and overcome difficulties, Michael became a two-time Olympic champion and six-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls. Jordan has been voted the NBA’s Most Valuable Player five times and has set many incredible records that still hold today.