After a distinguished performance in the London 2012 Olympics, he has struggled to regain top class winning form. He came second behind compatriot Ross Murdoch at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014, did not make the 2015 World Championships or 2016 Rio Olympics, and has now called time on his career at the age of 28.
All this despite a punishing training regime which would have exhausted the strongest. It spoke to his strength of character that he pushed himself to the limit and beyond, before suffering the deepest doubts about his life and purpose.
Winning periods in top class sport can be brief. There is no doubt Michael strained every muscle to maintain top form. Perhaps he pushed himself too far. The stress is not only physical but psychological.
It can take time to recover from such a downturn. But comfort can be taken from a number of indisputable plus points. He has a wide range of supportive friends, enduring respect for his achievements as an Olympic medallist - qualities keenly appreciated in many walks of life - and the knowledge, experience and dedication to be an exemplary teacher. Many go through a depressive period, albeit perhaps not as intense as the one that Michael has suffered. The great majority pull through.
He has a full life waiting for him – one that may take a number of positive directions. For the moment, counselling, support and companionship is the priority. We wish him a full recovery and every success beyond.