Michael Phelps is a really nice guy. Let me get that right out of the way first thing. Here’s a guy who is going to make millions soon and the time I had with him was at the end of a very long day with that started with the Oprah show and continued with the entire city of Chicago pulling at him for “just two more minutes, Mr Phelps.”
He was tired to be sure, and when I became the eight millionth photographer to ask him to stand with his incredible arms outstretched to see his super-human physical dimensions, he smiled and did it. He’s a good sport.
I got the call the night before to work for the Chicago 2016 campaign to get the Summer Olympics in Chicago and it was a very hectic day. 120 athletes being carted around the city. They too were all in very good spirits and very generous with requests for autographs and photos with the fans who had lined the streets.
I wanted to make a photograph of him that reflected the determination and focus he’s had all these years to wind up with eight gold medals. You don’t achieve that by phoning it in. And even after a day of overwhelming attention, he didn’t do it with me either. A really good guy.
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