Hot Water by Nick van der Leek and Lisa Wilson
31 Aug 2016
“It has been an amazing, amazing, amazing week. Crazy week. Can’t believe some of it but, um, pretty exciting. Yes, I am not done, I have one more race…”
Hot Water follows Michael Phelps’ trauma of emergence, and investigates the possibilities and threats buried in a simple reality:
Everyone is beatable, even the greatest Olympian in human history. So what could Michael Phelps do to make sure he won?
“Michael Phelps despised the image of perfection his success had created…”
Michael Phelps is living proof that dreams can and do come true if you work hard and for long enough. Water is an important analogy in Hot Water illustrating the power of “Phelpsian” persistence. Weakness properly moulded can become a substance capable of slicing through the hardest rock.
The signature event of the Rio Olympics was undoubtedly the epic re-match between an Olympic icon and the man who foiled his golden dream in London, Le Clos. The 200 meter fly is Phelps’ favorite event. Phelps is Le Clos’ idol. Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, came out of retirement to settle unfinished business. In 2016 fire and gasoline would come together in an explosive finale.
The author analyses the 200 fly race step by step, meter by meter, uncovering a steaming cauldron of insights. Le Clos’ loss to the Phelps was devastating, especially after the Muhammed Ali vs Fraser build-up, and the shadow boxing in the ready room. But what led up to it, and what happened afterwards?
Nick van der Leek is a member of PEN SA.