Phelps Appologises For His Fault

The Olympic swimming star Michael Phelps quickly acknowledged his poor judgment after a photograph showing him inhaling from a marijuana pipe was published Sunday in a British newspaper. Although his admission is unlikely to effect his swimming eligibility, it could affect the millions of dollars he has secured in endorsement deals.

In a statement released Sunday by his marketing agency, Octagon, Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, did not challenge the legitimacy of the photograph published by the tabloid News of the World.

“I engaged in behaviour which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment,” Phelps said. “I'm 23 years old and despite the successes I've had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again.”

This is not the first time Phelps has been compelled to issue a public apology for his behaviour. In 2004, a few months removed from winning six gold medals and two silvers at the Athens Olympics, Phelps, then 19, pleaded guilty to a drunken driving charge.

But the stakes are higher now. Phelps was honoured as the Associated Press male athlete of the year in 2008 for his performance in Beijing, where he broke Mark Spitz's 36-year-old record for most gold medals in an Olympics.

In a statement, the United States Olympic Committee said it was “disappointed in the behaviour recently exhibited by Michael Phelps,” describing him as a role model who was “well aware of the responsibilities and accountability that come with setting a positive example for others, particularly young people.”

In May 1998, Gary Hall Jr., a United States swimmer who won four medals at the 1996 Olympics, was suspended for three months by swimming's international governing body, FINA, for testing positive for marijuana. Under the current World Anti-Doping Agency code, cannabis is not considered a banned substance during out-of-competition testing. Athletes face suspension only if they test positive for it at a competition.

Since his record-breaking performance in Beijing, Phelps has added Kellogg's, Mazda and Subway, among others, to an endorsement portfolio that already included Visa and AT&T. In a “60 Minutes” interview that aired in December, Phelps's agent, Peter Carlisle, said that Phelps could earn more than $100 million over his lifetime.

Phelps has never tested positive for a banned substance. Last year, he agreed to increased testing to prove that he was a clean athlete. The News of the World said the photograph was taken in November, during a house party Phelps attended while visiting the University of South Carolina on the weekend of Nov. 8. While there, he attended the Gamecocks' football game against Arkansas and received a rousing ovation when he was introduced.

The newspaper did not say that Phelps was smoking marijuana, but it pointed out that the pipe typically was used for that purpose. At the time, Phelps was in the middle of a four-month break from swimming. He resumed swimming this month in Baltimore, his hometown, with an eye toward the 2012 Olympics.

Michael Fred Phelps was born on June 30, 1985 . He has won 14 career Olympic gold medals.Phelps holds the record for the most gold medals won at a single Olympics with the eight golds he won at the 2008 Olympic Games.


Kenneth Ragpala said...

For crying out loud! he's just a kid!!!

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