He's known for his speed in the pool, but outside of it, Michael Phelps' fast habits aren't doing him any favors. Five days after being pulled over in Maryland for driving at nearly twice the speed limit and blowing a 0.14 on his breathalyzer test, Michael Phelps announced that he will "attend a program" to "better understand [him]self" via a series of tweets.
This latest DUI is the second the swimming star has been charged with — the first occurred in 2004 when he was only 19, and resulted in the athlete's 18-month probationary period. He was also required to give an alcohol awareness presentation to students at three high schools.
Phelps is no stranger to substance controversy, as he was photographed in 2009 smoking a marijuana pipe, which caused him to lose a sponsorship deal with Kellogg. At the time, Kellogg spokeswoman Susanne Norwitz said in a statement, "Michael’s most recent behavior is not consistent with the image of Kellogg." The photograph also resulted in the Olympic gold medalist's three-month suspension from USA Swimming, who also issued a very public reprimand to the then 24-year-old. Their statement read,
We decided to send a strong message to Michael because he disappointed so many people, particularly the hundreds of thousands of USA Swimming member kids who look up to him as a role model and hero.
After this incident, Phelps said, "I'll make a million mistakes in my life, but as long as I never make the same mistake again, then I've been able to learn and grow." He also noted that the marijuana scandal allowed him to appreciate who his real friends were.
The single most decorated Olympian in the history of the games, Phelps has won an astounding 22 medals over the course of three Olympic games. His 18 gold medals is double the number of the next closest contender for the title, and the eight golds he won in the 2008 games in Beijing set the record for the most wins in any single Olympic games. With his phenomenal achievements and superstar status, it comes as no surprise that the athlete is considered a hero to many young boys and girls.
But his fame has come with the price of painfully close scrutiny, and with each apparent lapse in judgment, it seems as though the whole world stops to examine Michael Phelps' life choices. The athlete has in turn addressed his loyal following to accept responsibility for his actions. On September 30, he posted on Facebook,
Earlier this morning, I was arrested and charged with DUI, excessive speeding and crossing double lane lines. I understand the severity of my actions and take full responsibility. I know these words may not mean much right now but I’m deeply sorry to everyone I have let down.
According to TMZ, Phelps' high blood alcohol content level and his 84 mph in a 45 mph zone resulted after "an 8-hour gambling session at a Baltimore casino." If convicted of his latest charges of driving under the influence, excessive speed and crossing double lane lines, the athlete may be looking at up to a year in jail, a $1,000 fine and a suspension of his license for up to six months.
On Sunday, the athlete decided to take matters into his own hands, and took to his Facebook and Twitter pages to address a combined total audience of nearly 10 million followers.
Images: Getty Images (3); MichaelPhelps/Twitter