Michael Phelps

Austin Levingston grew up watching Michael Phelps. And as a swimmer whose face is eerily reminiscent of the Olympic legend, Levingston has often been compared to Phelps.

That made it easy for Levingston to look up to Phelps as a role model. And at the end of his professional career, Levingston -- who has autism -- just wanted to read out and let Phelps know the impact he's had on his life.

Through a simple post to Phelps' Facebook page, Levingston's act of sincerity has quickly become a viral hit, and an endearing reminder of the influence athletes have on fans.


This is an excerpt of the post:

"My name is Austin and I am autistic. I know you may not care to read this but you are one of my biggest idols and I've been following you for a very long time. Right now, I am currently going to college and hoping to become the first person in my whole family to get a degree. I am also a swim competitor just like you and I'm hoping to swim in the Olympics just like you someday."

Levingston also included side-by-side pictures of himself and Phelps in and out of the pool, noting their striking resemblance.

The post quickly gained more than 4,000 likes, but it's unclear if Phelps has seen the post himself. If he hasn't, someone will probably point it out soon.