Less than a week after Olympic legend, Michael Phelps, was arrested for his second DUI, the swimmer has announced his decision to take some time away from swimming. Phelps announced through his Twitter that he will take this time to enter a six-week in-patient program. Recognizing that he made a mistake, the swimmer has hopes that this program will be the answer to his recent lack of judgement.
Phelps was arrested last Tuesday for driving under the influence of alcohol. It was reported that he had a BAC .14, which is almost twice of Maryland’s state limit. It was also stated that he was also charged for excessive speed. According to Maryland police, the olympic swimmer was driving 84 miles per hour in a 45 miles per hour zone. In addition to that charge, he was crossing double lane lines in the Fort McHenry Tunnel on Baltimore’s I-95. Maryland police stated that he failed to perform a series of standard field sobriety tests, but was cooperative throughout the process. Phelps was released that night.
This was not the first time that the 29-year-old was arrested for driving under the influence. In 2004, the then-19-year-old was arrested for drunk driving and was charged 18 months of probation. This charge was then waived, which could potentially benefit Phelps this time around. Phelps will be charged as a first-time offender of a DUI, but could still face a conviction of up to one year in prison. In 2009, he was also in the public eye and in trouble by numerous swimming officials, when a photo leaked to the media of the swimmer puffing a bong at a party. This led to him only being suspended from swimming for three months and was lucky to have dodged crime charges.
Phelps has had history making races, a well-known figure in professional swimming. In three Olympic competitions, 2004, 2008 and 2012, he has won a total of 22 medals with 18 of those being gold medals. After the 2012 London Olympics, Phelps announced his retirement, but recently returned back to swimming this past April. Since then, he has competed in shorter-distance events, relays, and his specialty event, the 100-meter butterfly. In August, he also competed in the U.S. National Championship. Last month, he competed in the Pan Pacific Championships and won three gold medals and two silver medals. This competition was Phelp’s first internationship meet since the 2012 Olympics.
Octagon, an agency that represents the gold-medalist, has made several statements on Phelps’s behalf since his recent DUI arrest. Octagon stated that this arrest has been difficult for the swimmer, but has ultimately led to him making the decision to improve himself by taking time away from swimming and entering the six-week program. Michael Phelp’s swimming career may be put on hold, but this DUI could also lead to being a career ender if he finds himself convicted. It has also been pointed out that Phelps set his sights on the 2016 Olympics in Rio, but that vision may now be a little out of reach for the Olympic star.
By Tricia Manalansan