Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps is entering a six-week, in-patient treatment program following his arrest last Tuesday on a drunken driving charge for the second time. In a statement posted Sunday to his social media accounts and sent via email from Octagon, his management agency, Phelps said: “The past few days have been extremely difficult. I recognize that this is not my first lapse in judgment, and I am extremely disappointed with myself. I’m going to take some time away to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself. 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.”
There was no specific mention of alcohol rehab in the message from Octagon, which said it was a “comprehensive” program that “will help him focus on all of his life experiences and identify areas of need for long-term personal growth and development.” Phelps, 29, the most decorated athlete in Olympic history, was stopped by Maryland police early Tuesday morning after the car he was driving was clocked at 84 in a 45 mile per hour zone. He failed a field sobriety test, and his blood alcohol level (.14) was nearly double the allowable.
Phelps was charged with DUI, driving at excessive speed and crossing double lines. He also was arrested for DUI in 2004 and sentenced to probation and community service. Phelps, who had retired after the 2012 Olympics, returned to competitive swimming this year. He had the world’s fastest time in the 100-meter butterfly and won that event and four other medals at the Pan Pacific Championships in August. (Quoted from The Chicago Tribune).
This article was republished with permission by the editor and publisher of Sport Intern, Karl-Heinz Huba.