No Limits: The Will to Succeed by Michael Phelps

Each chapter focusing on one of the eight races Michael Phelps competed in to win the record eight golds in the 2008 Olympics. Using these races as a frame, Phelps talks about his fight to elevate the sport of swimming in the US while giving insight into some of his struggles. We learn about his struggles with ADHD, how he got into swimming (thanks to his talented older sisters), how his coach took on the role of father figure, his drunk driving mistakes, and his “competition” with other top swimmers (I put the word competition in quotation marks because it was more of a friendly rivalry–like Ash on Pokemon! Yes, I did just reference that but if you have ever seen that kid show, you know what I mean–and because he competed more with himself than other swimmers).

The book gave a little more and a little less than I wanted from it. Part of why I love sports memoirs is for their insights into the sports themselves, the little tricks it takes to be the best, the injuries and sacrifices, the pursuit of greatness. We got some of that in the book, with the early morning practices and some talk of form, but I didn’t feel as close to the sport as I had hoped. I also didn’t feel like I got to know who Phelps was as a person. It was more like he was a spokesperson for perkiness and “life is good.”

It might have been more interesting to hear about his rise to greatness than the actual Olympics when he was already basically unbeatable.

It was fun to read, but left something to be desired.


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