Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Michael Phelps

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Content of the blog series(This one and two previous to this)  are directly  taken from Phelps' Autobiography...No limits. The author just wanted to share the thrill with his readers and has not tampered with any of the narratives. Infact my creative contribution to this blog is just 0.0001% (reading from the book and typing it for all of you).


If you liked the blog series ,you'll like the book as well . Please order a copy for yourself. (I got it from flipkart.com).
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Beijing olympics had started and i was preparing myself for the first race. 400 Mtr individual medley..
The most demanding of all races...Butterfly..Back Stroke...Breast Stroke and free style.100 mtr each

I had told bob that i would not race 400 mtr IM ever again as this was a very very demanding race.
This was my first shot at the supposedly the  first Gold out of the 8 Medals that i had promised my country.
I could have taken it as a pressure but i decided to take it as inspiration.I had to do it because so many people who loved me  wanted me to do it.
I had to win it for mom,
I had to win it for bob ...
I had to win it for America..

I was told that my races would be shown at prime time in USA.I was thrilled to hear this as i was trying to leave  Swimming bigger and better then what i had received.

All the values ,hardwork and endurance that i had built over the years were to be tested in the next few minutes. Moreover i didn't want to falter at the very first step as if i did falter.. the excitement and the thrill would go away  from the rest of the races as it will break my 8 Gold dream.

I was feeling good..infact very good .  Bob had taught us to visualize the race in your mind before you actually do it.

All of us were standing on the blocks....Announcement was made and Beep went the buzzer.

The best of the best athletes from all over the world dived in...i took it easy for the first 50 mtrs..I wanted to pump it up in the next 50.
After the butterfly i was having a one body length lead ,I figured i would be ahead for the next 100 mtrs as well but my fellow competitor Lochte had some other idea. He took away my lead and sent me into second position.

At 200 i was just in front but not that much as i had visualized earlier.Coming of the 300 mark i had no idea of the rest of the swimmers....i only knew that i have to give it everything in the last 100 mtrs of freestyle.It wasn't until 350 that i knew what was what and who was where.I took my first breath and couldn't find either of my competitors.I knew i had won...i went underwater , i smiled as i was going for the finish line and yes i was going strong.

I won the race and i smashed my own world record by 1.41 seconds.
Race to eight was still on...

After the race i could see my mom,Bob and George Bush clapping and cheering for me in the stands.
It was a absolutely pure and a proud moment for all of us.

On the medal stands American Flag went up..and the American anthem started playing.I was awarded the Gold medal. I was overwhelmed by the moment and I started crying...i was sobbing. I wanted to sing the anthem but the purity of the moment got the better of me. I could see my mother having tears in her eyes..This was such a proud moment for all of us. I was trying to control my tears and start singing the anthem...

The moment anthem reached "....the land of the brave" and the moment i was about to join in..
Some technical glitch occurred and the anthem ended abruptly.
The moment meant so much for me , i mean it was apart of a dream that i have surrendered my life for but sadly it got spoiled because of a technical fault...

I couldn't stop myself from laughing...i was laughing with tears in my eyes...In such an emotionally rich moment how can you stop the background music?

I was crying...i was laughing and i was thinking...
"Seven more Chances ,may be, for the Chinese to get the American Anthem right."

12 comments:

Saurabh Baghel said...

Hahahaha...it was humorous in the end.

Abhishek Tondon said...

The end was beautiful.

With all due respect to the competence and hard work that have made Phelps a success, I want to underline the fact that it's ultimately success (or the perceived notions of it) that bring the authority and the legitimacy to write such things. It's all so simple in the hindsight.

But let's not forget the fact that just 4 months ago, most of us were detesting VIRUSahastrabuddhe of 3 Idiots for a similar line of thoughts!! And this series of writing makes one adore Phelps coach and his Mom for being stricter than Virus!

Let's not forget that Phelps' coach's actions had the potential to turn Phelps into a Joy Lobo, and then, it won't have been 8 or what ever number it was!

It's important to evaluate an action but not just on the outcome it provided - because, there is indeed an element of fate involved!

Apology for being over-critical if it was so! [Perhaps my first criticism on Prateebimb :)]

Gaurav Vashist said...

Hi Abhishek....
I absolutely love to have critical commnets on my blogs or else how i am supposed to improve?
Okie..you were right yar...there are a few similarities in BOB and Viru..superficially it seemed that the modus operandi was similar...so just to confirm i watched 3 idiots again..and came up with the following analysis


Things that i liked about viru..
1)Relentless...sunday afternoon ko mera beta mar gaya tha...monday morning maine college me lecture diya tha. I liked that
approach..the ability to detach yourself from failures or depression of any kind is a key ingredient to excellence.bob was
similar...Phelps demolished the WR in 200 fly.it was the first major victory but it was not celebrated..next morning in the
pool.Another example is Sachin..Dad died..flew back home...did the last rites..flew back to england and helped india win against kenya.

2)Apart from this i can not think of anything,if you can please add it to the list...

Now I'll give you 3 reasons why Viru Sahasrabudhhe is not what BOB was to Phelps..

1)The most important thing, Phelps was not afraid of BOB , Joy lobo was. If Bob used to shout at Phelps ,Phelps almost everytime shouted back at him. Bob kept discussions open and never made them imposing in any sense. His way of coaching Phelps was not at all authoritarian. Phelps hated BOB for about a month or so and that too when he was 9-10 years old.but gradually he started to realize that BOB ws much more then a coach. He was a guardian,a friend,a mentor,a counsellor....he
was the world to him and when one means so much to you...you often surrender yourself .

2)When Viru calls Joy Lobo's papa and tells him that his son is not going to pass this year and tells him that Joy is doing some "unrealistic" project. He told Lobo that the project was unrealistic but eventuallly we came to know that it was
actually possible.Aamir made that thing fly. So at one side where VIRU has created the definitions of reality for himself
and his students,BOB told Phelps that there was nothing as unrealistic.Your mind decides how much realism you can put in
your dreams.One wanted you to be unrealistic in order to realize your dreams.Other wanted you to be practical and don't
dream ahead of HIS defintion of reality and practicality.

3)BOB never asked Phelps to break some other eggs and then get ahead of those eggs and feel happy.He didn't want him to be
the best athlete in the world,he just wanted him to be the best athlete he could be
.It was not haughty arrogance of bringing college from rank 28 to rank 1 even when you know that you are not producing world beaters .


So the ways may seem to be same and both appear to be equally demanding..there is a subtle difference in operating modes of
both of them.

:)

Abhishek Tondon said...

:)

I realize I should rather surrender!

Point 2 and 3 say it all! Brilliant! Better than the post itself.

Thanks so much for this wonderful contrast -- hats off.

Rookie said...

If its the book that inspires, I feel sad for you...
But if its the person, good for you...

Gaurav Vashist said...

Rookie boie...welcome back.. a series of blogs without your comment..i had started missing you :)

for the comment...

I think Inspiration...
If it comes from the book,i am happy,

if it comes from you tube videos i am still happy

If it comes from the strength of phelps personality..i am happy

I am happy as long as it keeps coming.

Source matter karta hai kya ....??

Gaurav Vashist said...

@Abhishek ... :) Thanks Bro

Rookie said...

Source does matter because every biography is a reflection on thing does on someone's point of view. Not to rob any one of their achievement but isn't it obvious enough - hard work pays - why does one need to look for inspiration for that obvious knowledge. I would be inspired by Cliff Young than Michael Phelps. An ordinary person who beat world record not because he trained for that but because he had courage.

On side note, I won't like his coach Bob. For simple reason - he robs life of little achievements "for bigger picture". Hard work has nothing to do with celebration. One should celebrate winning or losing, without concern of results. And if there is no result to be concerned of, where does bigger picture comes.

Consider case of Kalam, his mentor(i am loosing his name), he would celebrate all little achievement no matter how far his real target would be. That inspires some one to do better, there is no bigger picture than present. There never was, there never would be.

What if Phelps had met an unfortunate accident just after that victory. He would have kept a grudge forever to the coach because he can't let him celebrate his small wins. There is no bigger picture than current achievement. And to celebrate the present, there shouldn't be any shame.
His coach looks to me an arrogant and selfish fellow.
Another example, Ramaant Achrekar (coach of SRT). He would celebrate each half century, each century of his. There is no reason to not celebrate citing "bigger picture". If everyone's looking at bigger picture - there wouldn't be any festival around the world, no celebrations. There is only two things which I see of good in Bob - instillation of hard work and discipline - but that doesn't make him great, that's his job. If he can't do that than he is a failure as a coach.

About me being back - I comment only when there is strong feeling in me, like or dislike. Last few post does not do that. This post too doesn't do that, but than there is pretty good discussion going on comments section.

Gaurav Vashist said...

Q)Source does matter because every biography is a reflection on thing does on someone's point of view.
>>Didn't get you.

Q)Not to rob any one of their achievement but isn't it obvious enough - hard work pays - why does one need to look for inspiration for that obvious knowledge.
>>Ya hard work pays it's obvious...yar i started learning swimming and to do that well..i wanted to have a hero in place..thats why i read his biography.The knowledge may be obvious yet very hard to practise.

Q)I would be inspired by Cliff Young than Michael Phelps.
>>I woluld be inspired by both.

Q)An ordinary person who beat world record not because he trained for that but because he had courage.
>>>What do you mean by he didn't train...but courage got him the WR???? You mean courage got Cliff young a WR without any training. :D :D kya bol raha hai bhai....

I dnt think courage alone or training alone can do the trick...both are needed.I am sure Phelps and Cliff young would have had both courage and training.

Q)On side note, I won't like his coach Bob. For simple reason - he robs life of little achievements "for bigger picture". Hard work has nothing to do with celebration. One should celebrate winning or losing, without concern of results. And if there is no result to be concerned of, where does bigger picture comes.

>>He never said that don't celebrate..he just asked to temper the joy but still i'll agree to you on this one...Celebrations are an important part of life.They need not be grandiose or flaunting but yes they should be there.

Q)Consider case of Kalam, his mentor(i am loosing his name), he would celebrate all little achievement no matter how far his real target would be. That inspires some one to do better, there is no bigger picture than present. There never was, there never would be.

>>Agree...

Q)What if Phelps had met an unfortunate accident just after that victory. He would have kept a grudge forever to the coach because he can't let him celebrate his small wins. There is no bigger picture than current achievement. And to celebrate the present, there shouldn't be any shame.
>>Agree

Q)His coach looks to me an arrogant and selfish fellow.
>>OMG that's some statement...i won't' say anything on this. :) One thing i am clear,if BOB is Arrogant he is definitely not alone???

Q)Another example, Ramaant Achrekar (coach of SRT). He would celebrate each half century, each century of his. There is no reason to not celebrate citing "bigger picture".
>>>Rookie bhai for this comment... would like you to see two videos
1)Sachins first century against england (17 years in age) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1P_sdYPh71I (watch from 6:10 secs)
2)Sachin's 200 against south africa(37 in age)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COvE4xCNgcw&feature=related (watch from 6:50 secs)

If you see ,Sachin celebrates the first hundered at 17 years of age and the recent 200 at 37 years of age with same poise.He doesn't overblow any of the achievements..he just keeps scoring those hundreds.

That's what BOB wanted for phelps... equanimity in either case.

Q)If everyone's looking at bigger picture - there wouldn't be any festival around the world, no celebrations. There is only two things which I see of good in Bob - instillation of hard work and discipline - but that doesn't make him great, that's his job. If he can't do that than he is a failure as a coach.
>>>I won't defend BOB over here....It doesn't matter if we consider him great or not.There is one person whose opinion matters and that One person considers him great and that one person is Phelps..so tagging as great or not great is our personal opinion and we are perfectely entitled for our opinions.

Rookie said...

equanimity in either case -
he didn't seem to tear any banner when Phelps won gold - or may be i am mistaken.

About arrogance, he is definitely not alone, or world would have been a much better place (I am one of those arrogant, who think that being arrogant is kinda cool - I am wrong - and I am trying to overcome this - but its been instilled for last 25 years, will take some time to go away :P - so do bear with me )

Welcome to "Dudeism" - "you encompass one of the finest rule of the religion called Dudeism - your opinion dude :D

Gaurav Vashist said...

Thanks for the Dudeism thing...It's quite interesting...i'll proselytize i think....

Abhishek Tondon said...

@Gaurav & Rookie

Wonderful!

Quite an astonishing debate indeed.

Thanks both for making it a delightful read.