Michael Phelps won his 22nd gold medal in swimming on August 11, but the Olympian didn’t always have such ambitious goals in mind.
In 2001, a local Baltimore CBS news crew went to interview then 15-year-old Phelps about his promising career in swimming. In light of his recent victory, the old interview segment has been reshared on the local CBS station website.
“One of my long-term goals is to win the gold medal in Athens,” the young Phelps said when asked about his hopes for the future. Turns out becoming the most decorated Olympian in history wasn’t quite on his to-do list yet.
A clip of the interview also made its way onto Reddit, where a user named SteveTheNewsGuy shared a YouTube version. “Guess it’s as good a time as ever to throw back to the time I was sent to interview a 15-year-old Michael Phelps in 2001, whose goal was just to ‘get faster’ and win one Olympic gold medal,” the Redditor titled his post.
Safe to say he achieved that goal, and about a dozen others along the way. Another charming moment in the 2001 interview came when Phelps was asked how his training for the World Championships was coming. “My IMs [Individual Medleys] are definitely coming along […] so I think that those are something that are going to be big,” Phelps said.
The 200-meter IM was the Rio event where Phelps earned his 22nd gold medal. The 15 years of practice certainly paid off.
Despite his early talents in the pool, Phelps is delightfully dorky throughout the eight-minute interview.
“It means a lot, you know if you’re going to World Champs and you win, it means you’re going to be the World Champion of that year,” he replied when asked how it felt to be training for the World Championships. “And it’s gonna be pretty sweet, just to be like ‘you’re the World Champ.’ I just think it sounds cool.”
Watch the full interview with Phelps as it appeared on CBS below:
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