Olympic gold medalists Michael Phelps and Rowdy Gaines chat on Van Wezel stage

ABC7 Good Morning Suncoast - Weekdays at 6am
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 12:55 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2023 at 12:57 PM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - To be an Olympian takes years of hard work, vigorous training, and a non-stop drive for success.

Getting a look inside the mind of one of the greatest athletes in the world is something most people wouldn’t imagine being able to do. Lucky for the Suncoast, The Ringling College Library Association hosted two world-renowned Olympians on the stage of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall for an exclusive interview.

On Monday, February 6th audiences were treated to a special conversation between three-time Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines and twenty-three-time gold medalist Michael Phelps. Phelps is widely known as the most decorated athlete to date with a total of twenty-eight medals won in his Olympic career.

Gaines told ABC7 that while moderating the exclusive Q+A is certainly an honor, he’s always been a fan of Phelps from the time he was just starting out in the world of competitive swimming.

“Michael and I go way back. I’ve known him for twenty-four years. I covered his first Olympics back in 2000 when he was a young 15 year old and I covered every single Olympics since. We have grown to be very good friends over those years. When he puts our sport on the map it’s been a privilege and an honor to call his races.”

The conversation was the second for the Ringling College Library Association’s Town Hall Lecture Series as they kicked off the 2023 season last month.

To learn more about The Ringling College Library Association Town Hall Lecture Series and purchase tickets for their upcoming events visit: https://www.rclassociation.org/single-ticket-waitlist/