By Veronica Dudo
Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps spent the weekend in Atlantic City promoting his nonprofit organization, the Michael Phelps Foundation. Working along with Harrah’s Resort, the 26-year-old held a golf and poker tournament with proceeds benefiting his foundation which focuses on growing the sport of swimming and promoting healthy and active lives for children.
While in town, the Baltimore native also hosted a party at the Pool After Dark, where he talked about what it was like taking home his gold medals, the 2012 Olympics, the opportunity to make a difference in lives of children and his product endorsements.
You set an Olympic record by winning eight gold medals in swimming competitions—what was that moment like for you?
I can’t put it into words—you work your whole life for it and it finally happened. It’s a very, very special feeling for me and something I’ll never forget.
This weekend you’ve been hosting some events in support of the Michael Phelps Foundation; how has the response been?
I think just being able to have an event like this and this being the second year that we’ve had something like this—I just think the turnout this year was so much better than last year and we’re making steps in the right direction to really being able to accomplish my goals and dreams outside of the pool and being able to grow the sport both in and out of the water is something that I’ve always wanted to do and there are a lot of people out here helping me, supporting me and supporting the cause that I love the most and that’s kids.
Do you think you have been able to introduce more children to the sport of swimming?
Being able to just have the chance to have kids be able to get in the water and to be water-safe I think is something that is needed all over the world and this is something that I’m very, very proud of and something that I hope will grow even more over the next couple of years.
What are your thoughts heading into the 2012 Olympic Games in London?
One more Olympics, we’ll see how it goes and I’m excited, I feel good, I’ve been training well and a lot better this year than I have in the past.
Will you be trying different events?
We’re not sure what we’re going to do—keep everything right until we go to trials and then get everything figured out then.
Any plans after you retire from swimming competitively?
I want to spend a lot more time with my foundation; just being able to have fun and enjoy being able to promote my swim school.
You’ve talked about how you actually use the products you endorse such as Visa, Subway and Speedo why are those brands so special to you?
I think one of the biggest things about my endorsements is they are products that I use on a regular basis. It’s not something that’s forced—it’s something that’s very relaxing and something that is a part of my everyday life and I think that’s something that is more special than anything and also they’re pretty much like family.
For more information on the Michael Phelps Foundation visit www.michaelphelpsfoundation.org.
BUZZ @ THE BEACH
For the September 23 weekend, Jersey Shore’s Snooki will be hosting the party at The Pool After Dark inside Harrah’s Resort. Borgata welcomes IL Volo, Deadmau5, the Bay-Atlantic Symphony, Steve Aoki and Roger Hodgson of Supertramp while Darius Rucker will be appearing at Caesars Atlantic City. Meanwhile, Julie Budd Gershwin is scheduled to perform at Resorts Casino; Enrique Iglesias with special guest Pitbull and Prince Royce will take the stage at the Trump Taj Mahal and the Commodores will be at the Tropicana Casino.
Veronica Dudo is an award-winning journalist who has covered everything from breaking news to red carpet celebrity interviews. For more information, click here.