Phelps The Philanthropist
Sep 2, 2008
Craig Lord

Michael Phelps, the greatest Olympian of all time, has launched the Michael Phelps Foundation and made it flush from day one: his first donation is the Speedo $1 million bonus for matching Mark Spitz's seven gold medals.

The Foundation’s first initiative is an eight-city tour across the United States with Speedo. Phelps will visit children and share his career experiences and spread the lore of nine amazing days in Beijing.

Octagon, where Peter Carlisle is Phelps's agent, announced that the Tour will also serve as the launch of an education programme, "Dream, Plan, Reach", based on a simple yet powerful set of principles that Michael learned as a child, in the main from coach Bob Bowman, and has applied to his everyday life. Perhaps the programme should have been called The Bowman Principle. The Programme will "provide children with an understandable game plan for life that can extend beyond the swimming pool, to empower children to live healthy, active lives", a release stated. "Dream, Plan, Reach focuses on informed planning and goal-setting, and the importance of personal responsibility and discipline in adhering to that plan in day-to-day living".

Phelps said: "Thanks to a lot of hard work, some good fortune, the inspiration I drew from so many supporters around the world, and incredible teammates, I was able to achieve that dream by winning eight Gold Medals in Beijing. Now, my goals reach beyond the pool, to helping others realize their dreams, and continuing to grow the sport I love so much.  I feel it’s only appropriate that I continue the momentum that Speedo helped to create, by committing my bonus to the establishment of the Michael Phelps Foundation, which I hope will help me inspire others to achieve their dreams, and give back to the sport that has given me so much."

A Speedo spokesman said: "We congratulate him [Phelps] on this truly historic accomplishment in Beijing and look forward to supporting him in this new endeavor.  Warnaco and Speedo International are also pleased to announce an additional $200,000 donation to the Michael Phelps Foundation in honor of Michael’s eighth gold medal in Beijing."

"I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had swimming play such a profound role in my life," said Phelps. "I have met great people, seen the world, and learned the power of dreams; I’ve learned that through education, planning, goal-setting, and informed decision-making, anything is possible."

The official status of the new foundation:

  • The Michael Phelps Foundation is a Non-Profit Corporation organised pursuant to the District of Columbia Non-Profit Corporation Act.  Established in August of 2008 by 14-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Michael Phelps, the Foundation’s purpose is to operate exclusively for charitable educational, and scientific purposes; and to promote healthy, active lives, especially for children, primarily by expanding opportunities for participation in the sport of swimming, both nationally and internationally.