When the Olympic athletes are all competing in their respective sports during the games, it's easy for fans (me) to get caught up in the moment and all of the excitement and fail to acknowledge the years (and years and years) of rigorous training that every single person competing has had to achieve to get to where they are today. Even in the case of Michael Phelps — the most decorated Olympian of all-time — the guy makes swimming look so effortless that not everyone stops to wonder just how intensely Phelps has trained to be competing (and most likely dominating) his fifth Olympic Games. And that's where Under Armour's new Michael Phelps ad comes in, here to remind us all that training for the Olympics is no joke.
One of the most interesting parts of the spot is the clip of Phelps getting a cupping treatment on his back, which isn't really so much training as much as it is a literal suction cupping of his back. (According to WebMD, "supporters of cupping therapy believe the suction of the cups mobilizes blood flow to promote the healing of a broad range of medical ailments.") Phelps joins a long list of celebs who enjoy the practice — maybe "enjoy" is the wrong word here since it looks like it hurts pretty bad — and his is actually "caught" on film.
TBH, the majority of the video focuses on the hard work and hardships that Phelps has endured during his training; the moments that remind everyone that it is through this sheer determination — putting in the exercise and the effort when you're so exhausted and frustrated you feel like you can't even go on — that is what turns Phelps into an Olympic athlete. Like the tagline says, it's what you do in the dark that puts you in the light.
And speaking of the light, what is perhaps even more moving than the ad itself is Phelps' reaction to watching it for the first time. He gets visibly choked up, as does his fiancée Nicole Johnson, who can't help put let the tears flow (as well as her pride):
If this doesn't get you psyched for the Olympics, I don't know what will.