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Roger Federer

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Michael Phelps The most successful and most decorated Olympian of all-time gets candid about his struggles in the spotlight Words by Allison Kugel • Photos courtesy of HBO Sports With his unmatched agility and speed in the water, Michael Phelps holds the all-time record for Olympic gold medals earned. The closest thing to Aquaman, on two legs, Michael, like many pro athletes who have reached his rarified status, was placed on a pedestal that was unsustainable. For more than a decade, Michael's life was a relentless march towards breaking Olympic records, out- swimming his competition as he trained, and traveling the world collecting gold medals and corporate endorsement deals. His seemingly flawless athleticism and boy-next-door charm made him seem unstoppable. The bloom first came of f the rose in 2004, when Michael was arrested for driving under the influence. That embarrassing event was compounded in 2009, when pictures of Michael allegedly smoking from a bong went viral, finding their way into mass tabloid circulation. The final nail in the cof fin for Michael was a second DUI in 2014, which he now describes as "the bot tom of my bot tom," leading to deep depression and spurning him to seek help for issues that had plagued him since his younger years. The rough road to redemption ultimately instilled a passion in Michael for mental health awareness and advocacy. Rejecting a tragic end to his story, he dusted himself off and made his comeback at the 2016 Summer Olympics, breaking more records and winning over fans who had doubted him. Now a devoted husband and father of three boys, Michael insists that the second chapter of his life will make his storied time in the water look like a dress rehearsal for what's to come. Through his Phelps Foundation, he tirelessly champions the sport of swimming, fitness initiatives, and healthy lifestyle choices for young people. Michael continues to dedicate his time and resources to a cause close to his heart, that of mental health research and awareness. The Weight of Gold, an HBO Sports documentary film, executive produced and narrated by Michael, delves into the lives and careers of celebrated Olympians as it unpacks the mental health ramifications of the long term, restrictive and singularly-focused pursuit of Olympic greatness and stardom that Michael has achieved. According to HBO, "The Weight of Gold seeks to inspire discussion about mental health issues, encourage people to seek help, and highlight the need for readily available support."

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