Michael Phelps is without a doubt one of the greatest Olympians ever, but he would have never competed in the 2012 London Olympics had it not been for Ray Lewis’ words of encouragement.
Phelps was present for the Ravens AFC Championship win over the New England Patriots on Sunday, and afterwords said that had it not been for Ray Lewis serving as such an inspiration to him, he may not have competed in London any may never have broken the medal record he owns today.
“I think he’s probably the most inspirational person I’ve ever met in my entire life,” Phelps said. “A lot of people don’t know this, but he was one of the biggest reasons why I came back for four more years. Just some of the things that we have talked about, and he’s helped me get through, I can’t be more happier.”
Phelps is a Baltimore native, so it’s easy to see why Lewis was his inspiration. But Ravens fan or not, wasn’t yesterday awkward enough when it came to Ray Lewis, to then all of a sudden have Michael Phelps show up and fawn over how much of an inspiration Lewis is to humanity?
Well, the interview with Phelps did indeed get more awkward. When asked how emotional this was for Lewis and for Phelps (because that’s a relevant question), the swimmer started to stare off beyond the cameras, fighting back tears.
“I’ve had many talks with him,” Phelps repeated, trailing off and fighting tears. “And to be able to see what he’s gone through and to come back here one more time in his last year. … It’s going to be a fun couple of weeks.”
Phelps might not have been totally holding back tears but he was way too dramatic about the whole situation.
Ray Lewis isn’t high on a lot of people’s list and after his absolute emotional meltdown after winning the AFC Championship, his hardened image of a fierce linebacker has taken a bit of a hit. But apparently we can credit Lewis for convincing the greatest swimmer in Olympic history to not retire in 2008.