Michael Phelps, ADHD, and a Loss for Words

So Michael Phelps has just done an amazing thing by breaking a record and winning 8 Gold Medals. Yes, Michael Phelps has ADHD! Do you really think it’s just because he has Attention Deficit Disorder that he is at a loss for words? He’s in shock and is still trying to process what he’s just done! I would even expect the world’s best speaker to be at a loss for words after something like this.

I guess I’m just a little annoyed at all the people who are already commenting about his lack of speaking ability. People are blaming it on his ADHD, wondering if he’s autistic, or blaming it on some other disorder. Yes, his ADHD has something to do with him being so overwhelmed!

But come on people!! Give Michael Phelps a break! How well could you speak if you had just accomplished what he’s done?

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11 Comments

  • Maureen O'Hara

    Reply Reply August 17, 2008

    I am probably one of Michaels biggest fans and follow all he does. I am also an RN
    Has anyone considered the possibility that Michael may have “marfans?”
    It concerns me so much and others I work with— PLEASE look into it

  • Karen

    Reply Reply August 17, 2008

    Michael Phelps is my hero!

  • chris corwin

    Reply Reply August 18, 2008

    perhaps — and this is just conjecture — michael is working hard, like many of us ADHDers do, at not rambling on and on and on.

    we have a tendancy, when unchecked, to use a lot of words to say nothing important — perhaps he’s aware of this in himself and is trying hard NOT to do that, in front of billions of people.

    $0.02

  • Leigh

    Reply Reply August 18, 2008

    In addition to trying to digest the feat that Phelps has accomplished, maybe he is at “a loss of words” simply because he is a thoughtful and considerate person who wants to make sure that he doesn’t say anything that would make him sound pompous about his accomplishments, or that would insult his competitors. If he were to say something that could be misconstrued or taken out of context, those same critics would say he has poor sportmanship.

    Whether diagnosed with ADHD or not, persons who are kind, humble and considerate would have a hard time talking highly of themselves. I hold him in very high regard for being a wonderful role model for many out there, showing that it is possible to be the best at what you can do while still having wonderful character.

  • Chris

    Reply Reply August 18, 2008

    As a parent and professional that works with children with ADHD, I do not get the obsession between his speaking ability and his disorder. We need to remember he is 23 years old, not 35!! He is old enough to understand the significance of his success yet too young to manage it. Quite the quagmiry!

    I’m sure that the activity around him is overwhelming and he probably is feeling some of the symptoms of his ADHD. But to attibute the public speaking flaws solely to the disorder is quite silly. Watch the nightly news, most people have difficulty when being interviewed on the street and trying to communicate an opinion. Can you imagine breaking world records, knowing you are the first to accomplish a notable goal and having a microphone in your face? It is alot to manage for anyone, let alone for someone who is easily distracted.

    As far as Marfans….perhaps, but there has been no mention of cardiovascular problems, just the long limbs. I’d rather not speculate.

  • Lenny

    Reply Reply August 18, 2008

    I didn’t even realize he has ADHD, and I don’t think it is important other than how he can focus despite that and train to be the most amazing swimmer I’ve seen.

    I am, however, highly amused by how he starts ever interview I watched with “I’m at a loss of words” and then proceed to talk for a long time. It has absolutely nothing to do with any conditions he may or may not have, and nothing to do with his swimming prowess, or anything else, except how he talks.

    This blog post does sound extremely defensive about ADHD, however. Do you need to have ADHD to be overwhelmed by winning an Olympic gold? To win it by 0.01 seconds? To win 8 golds in a single Olympics? To even be selected to represent your country in the Olympics?

    I don’t think so.

  • jobo

    Reply Reply August 19, 2008

    I haven’t seen any articles or pieces criticizing Michaels speaking. I’ve seen several interview segments with Michael with Bob Costas, Matt Lauer etc. where he comes across as well spoken and articulate.

    Who was criticizing his speaking?

  • Dennis Oliver

    Reply Reply December 3, 2008

    I do have Marfans and bravo for Michael. I have been blessed to live a pain free life and have been honored to stay on this earth for 57 years. I too was teased and tormented in elementary and high school. It just makes one more determined to be a success. I have accomplished financial success and have the oppportunity to give back to my community medical facilities so others may have a better life. By the way I have lived 57 years and I was told on October 12, 1972 I would be very lucky to live ten years. So I am beating the odds and I don’t think they are ready for me to barge in the door of the Pearly Gates yet, but I had a sneaky peek a few years ago so I am continue to live in the moment and be equally excited to cross over to the next plane.

  • Jana

    Reply Reply March 14, 2009

    Let’s wake up folks… Michael has a DUI in his recent past and now the bong picture that shows drug use. Michael is a person that has been diagnosed with the disorder ADHD. Yet he is unmedicated. This is quite possibly an issue. He is obviously using drugs and alcohol to self-medicate. There is a corelation between unmedicated persons with ADHD and drug and alcohol use and abuse.

    I am a therapist certified in addictions. I imagine we will continue to see more of Michael in the news. And, it will not be for swimming. It will continue to be for his substance abuse unless he gets help.

  • Suzanne

    Reply Reply May 20, 2009

    My son has ADHD, and I’ve often thought and others commented that he had a body like Michael, and he loves to swim, so I was trying to encourage him to join a swim team. In the last year, we’ve noticed that his chest has begun to sink inwards and suddenly he’s been having chest pains and dizziness. He just had an EKG and I started doing research and realized he may have Marfan’s. Then I immediately thought that Michael may have it as well and did research and found articles where he admitted as much. I am certainly not going to encourage my son to swim any more, and I’m glad he hasn’t been interested in any other sports. I wonder if there is any correlation between ADHD and Marfan’s. Michael is in a situation where he has doctors constantly monitoring his health that know what to do if something happens. My son is not. I think more awareness needs to brought to this disorder – I don’t remember seeing anything in the news about this on tv regarding him – only the ADHD, yet the Marfan’s can be fatal if not diagnosed.

  • Suzanne

    Reply Reply May 21, 2009

    I actually just answered my own question. If you go on several different Marfan websites including something called SAMSO, you’ll see that ADHD is a common symptom of Marfan syndrom.

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