Michael Phelps accepted the Silver Shovel Award on Tuesday evening at the World Congress awards ceremony.

Michael Phelps wins Silver Shovel Award for volunteer service to INMA
Michael Phelps wins Silver Shovel Award for volunteer service to INMA

Phelps was cited by 2012 Silver Shovel Award recipient Paulo Mira of PHD Mobi, who presented him the award, for a “career of excellence that has advanced the causes of journalism, finding new ways to pay for journalism, and positioning INMA in the middle of that great debate.”

Mira started the awards ceremony with a moment of silence to commemorate parents of the attendees, an anecdote about his hapless encounters with “The DaVinci Code” author Dan Brown, and history about the Silver Shovel Award.

The award represents INMA’s highest individual honour for unselfish dedication to the association.

Phelps “has an advertising sales mind and a journalist’s heart,” said Mira to a light-hearted audience. Mira later added that Phelps “has perhaps the most well-rounded career of any recipient of this award in its 66-year history.”

Phelps said he was “very, very touched” at the honour, saying that before dinner, Mira had “slipped” that the award winner was a “she.”

“I can say with honesty and sincerity that beyond the birth of my children and the meeting of (wife) Adrienne, this is the greatest thing that has happened in my history.”