On Dec. 9, a sold-out crowd of nearly 2,000 visited Adelphi University to hear 14-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps at its new Center for Recreation and Sports the day his book, No Limits: The Will to Succeed, was released. At the event, the athlete discussed growing up with ADHD, the influence and support he has received from his No. 1 fan, mom Debbie Phelps, and his determination to never give up on his dreams, among other topics.
Adelphi University President Dr. Robert Scott issued a warm welcome to a very enthusiastic and excited crowd of students, swim clubs from across the region, fans and community members. He introduced Donna de Varona, a former American swimmer and Olympic gold medalist who conducted the interview with Phelps. de Varona provided the audience with a brief background of her own Olympic history before introducing the much-anticipated Phelps who received a standing ovation.
"I had a dream that I wanted to accomplish and nothing was going to stand in my way," Phelps, who was asked about his dream of becoming an Olympian, said. "I don't care what people say about me, let them say what they want," he added, proving to be a true inspiration to young fans.
de Varona then asked Phelps to reflect about his time in Beijing and to share his favorite memories with the audience. He mentioned the dining hall in the Olympic Village as one of his favorite spots to eat and relax with teammates and other Olympians.
Phelps' fame and success is a two-way street. As his fans support him, he in return gives back to them. Phelps created a foundation that promotes water safety and advocates swimming for children. "The more you use your imagination, the farther you'll go," he said. "Never put a limit on yourself."
The night ended with President Scott deeming Phelps as Adelphi University's newest ambassador, and showing his appreciation by providing him with a gift, an Adelphi sweatshirt and hat.