NEW YORK — Michael Phelps didn’t hold onto his $1 million check from Speedo very long. Phelps, who won eight gold medals in swimming in the just-concluded Beijing Olympics, donated the money to the newly established Michael Phelps Foundation, a charitable association that will promote the sport of swimming among children and empower them to acheive their dreams.
Speedo had pledged to pay Phelps $1 million if he was able to win seven gold medals in the Games. The manufacturer sweetened the pot Tuesday by donating an additional $200,000 to the Phelps Foundation, according to Joe Gromek, CEO of Warnaco, the licensee of Speedo in North America.
The Foundation’s first initiative will be an eight-city tour across the U.S., in collaboration with Speedo and through the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, where Phelps will visit children and share his experiences in Beijing. The Tour will also serve as the launch of an education program, Dream, Plan, Reach, designed to provide children with an understandable game plan for life.
In an interview, Phelps said, “I have this opportunity to continue to try to achieve my goal of raising the sport to a new level — get new faces involved, get kids involved. I want to take them through what I did, starting with a dream, then a plan, then reaching a dream. Hopefully this will change a lot of people’s lives.”
He said that he was “going to talk about how anything is possible. I’m living a dream now.”