Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in the history of sport, today visited the Complexo Esportivo da Rocinha, situated in a large favela in Rio de Janeiro, ahead of the Laureus World Sports Awards which he is attending.
Complexo Esportivo da Rocinha (Rocinha Sports Centre) which opened in December 2010, is part of the Rio 2016 Olympic Development Programme. It currently benefits 4,500 people and offers 17 different sports, plus providing social and health services.
Michael, who won 2 2 Olympic medals in his career, including 18 gold medals, led a swimming clinic at Rocinha featuring elements from the Michael Phelps Foundation’s ‘im’ programme.
‘Im’ stands for individual medley, one of Michael Phelps’ most celebrated events, and it also reflects ‘I am’ which is a focus of the approach of the programme which tries to increase the self-confidence of the young people who attend.
Michael, who established the Michael Phelps Foundation following his record-setting performance at the 2008 Olympics, when he won eight gold medals, talked to some of the youngsters about the basic principles of his Olympic success – Dream, Plan, Reach.
He said: “Coming to the Laureus World Sports Awards has given me a great opportunity to visit Rocinha and get a feel for what is going o n here. I enjoyed meeting some of the kids and I really feel sport is making a difference here.”
The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation currently supports more than 140 projects around the world which have helped to improve the lives of over one-and-a-half million young people, including three in Rio de Janeiro – Luta Pela Paz, Bola Pra Frente and Gol de Letra – and has strong links with Complexo Esportivo da Rocinha.
Since he retired from swimming after the London Olympics, Phelps has been working actively for the Michael Phelps Foundation, his personal sporting charity, and talks have been held with Laureus to see if there are ways in which the two organisations can work together.
Michael Phelps has been nominated for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award after his success at the London Olympic Games, where he won four gold and two silver medals to become the most decorated Olympian. He is one of many leading sportsmen and women who will be attending the Awards Ceremony at the Theatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro.