When we solicited good poop stories two weeks ago (here), one person who couldn’t respond was Michael Phelps. This was partly due to Internet restrictions in Beijing (apparently we are a banned site in China) and partly due to his rigorous training regimen. But when we called Michael to congratulate him on gold medal number six early this morning, he said that he’d been meaning to comment on our blog with his own poop anecdote.
Phelps, as you may have heard, consumes 12,000 calories a day. Here is his typical breakfast, according to the New York Post:
Phelps lends a new spin to the phrase “Breakfast of Champions” by starting off his day by eating three fried-egg sandwiches loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise.
He follows that up with two cups of coffee, a five-egg omelet, a bowl of grits, three slices of French toast topped with powdered sugar and three chocolate-chip pancakes.
As Michael said during our phone conversation, “If you think it’s hard to eat that much, just imagine how hard it is to poop that much. Nobody thinks about that.”
So did Phelps feel comfortable sharing an awkward pooping moment? “Well, when I was younger I wasn’t packing in twelve thousand calories a day, but I was putting down at least half that much. Pop Tarts, Fruity Pebbles, Eggos, Apple Jacks, Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Nintendo Power cereal. When I competed in my first swim meet at age five, I was halfway through the one hundred butterfly when an uncontainably strong urge to poop swept over me. Instead of flip-turning at the wall, I jumped out, ran to the bathroom and pooped like I had never pooped before. We’re talking five or six flushes here. Then I noticed somebody had clogged the toilet next to me, so I plunged that while I was there. Then I raced back toward the pool but first I saw a kitten in a tree and a little girl crying, so I crawled up the tree and rescued it. Then some fighter jets flew overhead and I had to stop and salute them. I was almost back in the pool when a woman passed out and needed CPR, and since I had just learned it I was kind of excited to practice. The mouth-to-mouth part was a little gross, but hey, somebody needed to save her life. Some bystanders wanted my autograph afterwards, so I signed their programs and various body parts. The local paper had been alerted about the kitten rescue, but when they got to the pool they also found out about me saving the woman’s life, so there were a few photo ops. The light wasn’t quite right at first, so we waited maybe half an hour for the sun to be in the right place. And then I jumped back in the pool and finished a half second ahead of the world record for my age group.”
Anything else to add? “I get a lot of bathroom reading done,” Phelps said after a pause. “I reread Infinite Jest yesterday. In July I polished off all of Shakespeare. I’ve always wanted to read the complete Oxford English Dictionary, so I might tackle that next.”
Thank you, Michael Phelps. You’re an inspiration to us all.
* = Thank you, Andy Sweeney, for making us ask the question, “Just how much does Michael Phelps poop?”