Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps will “take some time away to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself” after his second arrest on a charge of driving under the influence last week.
Phelps, 29, began his announcement by tweeting that “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.— Michael Phelps (@MichaelPhelps) October 5, 2014
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 (@MichaelPhelps) October 5, 2014
Swimming is a major part of my life, but right now I need to focus my attention on me as an individual,— Michael Phelps (@MichaelPhelps) October 5, 2014
and do the necessary work to learn from this experience and make better decisions in the future.— Michael Phelps (@MichaelPhelps) October 5, 2014
Phelps, who has a Nov. 1 court date, faces up to one year in jail, a $1,000 fine and the loss of his driver’s license for six months. However, since his last DUI was nearly a decade ago, probation is a possibility. Shortly after his arrest, Phelps said in a statement that “I understand the severity of my actions and take full responsibility. I know these words may not mean much right now but I am deeply sorry to everyone I have let down.”
Not long after winning six gold and two bronze medals in the 2004 Athens Olympics, Phelps, who grew up and lives in Baltimore, was charged with DUI in Salisbury, Md. He apologized for the incident, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months’ probation. Shortly after breaking Mark Spitz’ record with eight gold medals in the 2004 Beijing Olympics, he was photographed smoking from a bong during a party at the University of South Carolina. A British tabloid published the images and Phelps, citing a youthful indiscretion (he was 23), bowed that the “regrettable” behavior would not happen again. He was suspended for three months from swimming and was dropped by several sponsors.
Phelps was in the midst of a comeback following a brief retirement after the 2012 London Olympics, where he won six medals (four gold). He has not yet said whether he will compete in the 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympics.