Phelps watching his teammate win the relay

Shocking, isn’t it.

He had trouble sitting still. His elementary school teachers all agreed that he was A.D.H.D.

In an interview with his mother, published in Monday’s New York Times, there is this line:

She will never forget one teacher’s comment: “This woman says to me, ‘Your son will never be able to focus on anything.’ “

For a year or so, Michael took Ritalin to “treat” his A.D.H.D. After a year, Michael told his mom he wanted to stop taking the meds. He didn’t like going to the school nurse every day for his pill. The other kids made fun of him, and he felt stigmatized.

Phelps's mom

My completely un-professional hunch: Michael Phelps was a boy.

His inability to contain his energy and sit still for long periods of time was not a disorder of any sort at all. He was a boy.

And he learned how to channel his energy (no doubt with help from his mom and his sister) and has become a gifted athlete.

Watching him during the team relay events at the Olympics, it is clear that he has an infectious enthusiasm and a quick smile. I would bet he’s a lot of fun to be around.

And I’ll bet he was a handful when he was in elementary school. Like a lot of boys.

I don’t think the answer is to drug them all so that they will sit still.

– Rob Shearer
Director, Schaeffer Study Center

[hat tip to Ben Cunningham at Taxing Tennessee, who was also struck by the NYT article!]

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