Rio Olympics 2016: How Becoming A Dad Makes Michael Phelps A Better Olympian

By Rachel Cruise, Parent Herald August 07, 08:31 pm

Michael Phelps holds the record for most medals won at the Olympics for the U.S. swim team. When he started competing, he was merely a 15-year-old boy who was determined to set a record through rigorous training and planning.

With 22 Olympic medals to his name, Michael Phelps returns to compete at the Rio Olympics 2016 as a new man. This is fifth Olympics and he competes to bring honor not just for himself and country, but for two very special people in his life: his 2-year-old son Boomer and partner Nicole Johnson. But with the new reality comes new challenges to face with his growing family.

According to the New York Times, Phelps has his son and fiancée as his sources of inspiration to persevere at what he's good at and well-known for. However, they can't always be with him to cheer him on in the games. In fact, they are not with him at the Rio Olympics 2016 and only keep in touch regularly via Facetime.

I love our FaceTime chats with daddy @m_phelps00 especially when he tries to be serious and boomer just laughs #thesetwohavemyheart

A photo posted by Nicole Michele Johnson (@nicole.m.johnson) on Jul 21, 2016 at 11:47am PDT

During one swim meet before the Olympics, Phelps' partner and son had to cancel joining the new dad in San Antonio because Boomer had develop cough and fever. It's these little but crucial things that has the swimmer distracted from the competitions and practices sometimes. "I'm always worried that he's sleeping right, breathing right, getting enough food, getting better," Michael Phelps told the news outlet.

His teammates and coaches in the U.S. swim team say that swimming isn't just the main thing on the Olympian's mind these days, because there's Nicole and Boomer. However, this is actually a good thing for Michael Phelps.

At the height of his popularity and success from 2004 to 2014, the athlete struggled with DUI arrests and alcohol recovery, as well a strained relationship with his father. Nicole Johnson said that the pressure of having to perform his best took a toll on Michael that he was forced to grow up fast.

But since meeting his fiancée and having his son, Michael Phelps seems to be turning his life around and growing better as a person, which translates to his role as a father, partner and athlete. He admits he feels he's a changed person.

"I'm just in a happier place with where I am in my life," said Michael Phelps, via USA Today. Learn more about Michael Phelp's renaissance in the video below:

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