Drinking and Driving Leads to Rehab
The 18-time Olympic gold medalist was booked last week in Baltimore, MD, on charges of DUI, excessive speeding and crossing double lane lines. Perhaps recognizing that a judge would likely send him to a recovery program anyway, Phelps acknowledged that “this is not my first lapse in judgment.” The decorated Olympian also said he wanted to take steps to ensure this didn’t happen again.
I’m going to take some time away to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself-Michael Phelps
“Swimming is a major part of my life, but right now I need to focus my attention on me as an individual, and do the necessary work to learn from this experience and make better decisions in the future.”
The Swimming Community Reacts
However, his actions have been widely panned by the swimming community. Fellow Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte said that Phelps “makes dumb decisions,” which is particularly biting since Lochte has a reputation for making less-than-intelligent comments.
“He has so much money to get a driver. I even have a driver. It just stinks for the sport of swimming. But he will become smarter from this. Luckily he did not hurt himself or someone else,” Lochte said.
USA Swimming announced yesterday that they are suspending Phelps for six months due to Code of Conduct violations. This means he will have to forfeit payments from his USA Swimming stipend during this suspension and also withdraw from the 2015 FINA World Swimming Championships held in Russia next August. Executive Director Chuck Wielgus accepted Phelps’ apology for his poor decision and said that “we are here to fully support his personal development actions.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that Phelps has made headlines for his substance use. During 2009, he was photographed inhaling from a marijuana pipe during a party. Phelps acknowledged that the photo was real and that his behavior was “inappropriate,” resulting in Kellogg dropping his sponsorship.
He was also questioned by media during the 2008 Beijing Olympics as to whether he was using performance-enhancing drugs, but successfully passed all nine drug tests he took during the Games.
Learn more about the available treatment options for alcohol abuse and addiction.