The Machine That Is Michael Phelps
In Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers he expresses that, “It makes a difference where and when we grew up. The culture we belong to and the legacies passed down by our forebears shape the patterns of our achievement in ways we cannot begin to imagine” (Gladwell 19). He believes that there are other factors besides hard work and ambition that contribute to a person’s success. There are the rare cases, like Oprah Winfrey, who rose from nothing and worked hard her whole life to be who she is today. Although, most of today’s successful individuals were given opportunities that no one else had. Michael Phelps is a prime example. He was not born an Olympic swimmer; he was constructed from an early age to be an Olympic swimmer. His family, the opportunities that he was given, and the 10,000 hour rule all play an integral part in his success. To begin with, his genetics were engineered for swimming. He has a long torso which is good for decreasing drag. It allows him to glide effortlessly through the water. His arm span is over six feet. A large arm span enables him to cover a longer distance with each stroke he takes. His legs are short compared to his arm span, but that makes it easier to generate power with is legs. His size fourteen feet act as flippers, they propel him through the water (Kennedy). But it takes much more than genetics to make a great swimmer. The culture and environment that Michael Phelps grew up in is what started young Phelps on his road to gold. His influence to swim came from his sisters Whitney and Hillary. Whitney has won a National Championship and served on the United States National Team. She tried out for the Olympics, but did not succeed. Hilary was on the University of Richmond swim team (North Baltimore). As a younger child he sat on the pool deck watching and cheering on his sisters. When Phelps was younger he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He had difficulty...
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