Michael Phelps reconsiders 2012 olympics after pot scandal

Michael Phelps
Olympian Michael Phelps has admitted to the press that he’s so shaken by the photo that was released of him smoking pot from a bong that he’s not sure he’ll compete in the next Olympics. The 23 year-old super swimmer says that he really needs to think things through and talk to his friends and family before he makes a decision:

Phelps, who said that he “clearly made a mistake” and that the past week has been both embarrassing and uncomfortable for him, spoke with The Baltimore Sun inside Meadowbrook Aquatic Center after finishing his daily workout. While he still has goals he wants to achieve in the sport, he said, he’s going to discuss it with his family and his coach, Bob Bowman.

“This is a decision of mine that I’m not going to make today and I’m not going to make tomorrow,” Phelps said. “It’s going to require a lot of time and energy and a lot of thinking for myself – but also talking to Bob and talking to my family and just deciding what I want to do.

“Yeah, there are still goals that I have in the pool, 100 percent. But I’m not going to let anything stand in my way. If I decide to walk away, I’ll decide to walk away on my own terms. If it’s now, if it’s four years, who knows. But it is something I need to think about and decide what I want to do.”

Bowman said that he doesn’t foresee Phelps retiring until after the 2012 London Olympics but that he understands how difficult it is for the 23-year-old to live up to the public’s expectations.

Phelps, who grew up in Rodgers Forge, said he realizes that his actions seem that much more foolish considering that this is his second public slip-up, after a drunken-driving arrest in 2004. He said it “definitely wasn’t easy” to tell his mother, Debbie, a principal at Windsor Mill Middle School, about the picture.

“Seeing my mom reminded me of how it was the day after I got my DUI, and I swore to myself I’d never do that again,” he said. “This is just a stupid thing of mine that I did, and I have to live with it.”

Phelps said he has spent the past few days with his mother and two sisters after the photo was published in Britain’s News of the World over the weekend. “We’ve been talking a lot,” he said. “I’ve been able to get back to my family. It’s part of my life I need back.”

When asked whether he regularly smoked marijuana, Phelps said he did not.

“This was stupid, and I know this won’t happen again,” he said. “It’s obviously bad judgment, and it’s something I’m not proud of at all. I will say that with the mistakes that I’ve made in my life, I’ve learned from them. Every one of them. And I’ve become a better person. That’s what I plan to do from here. It’s definitely not what I wanted, and it’s clearly not what my mom wanted.”

[From The Baltimore Sun via We Smirch]

Phelps is training again now, something that helps him focus and block out a lot of the noise in his life. He says that he’s been harassed by paparazzi since the scandal broke, including having “guys yelling into megaphones outside my window at 7 o’clock in the morning” and “People knocking on the door.”

I feel bad for the guy, he’s young and incredibly talented in one area but that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the minor temptations that a lot of kids his age indulge in, something that many other people have pointed out. If he wants to continue training he can go on to even greater achievements, and he’s come so far in his swimming career he shouldn’t let an incident like this derail his dream. He didn’t get to where he is today by letting setbacks get him down.

Michael Phelps is shown heading to a swimming complex in Baltimore with a new security guy on 2/3/09. Credit: Splash News. Header image is of Phelps promoting his book on 12/11/08. Credit: PRPhotos

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20 Responses to “Michael Phelps reconsiders 2012 olympics after pot scandal”

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  1. cheetahstripes says:

    They need to leave the guy alone. This is hardly a “scandal”. Puhlease.

  2. rules says:

    He just wants attention at this point and fishing for compliments…this is stupid…he smoked pot once and he’s IMPLYING that he is not going to be in the olympics…..

  3. caribassett says:

    It would be terrible if chose not to compete over this. It’s just silliness, he smoked pot, no biggie.

  4. PJ says:

    It would be a tragedy if he didn’t swim just because of smoking a joint, which is now decriminalized in many places.

    Phelps should give himself a break. His standards for himself are incredibly high, but he should leave his perfectionism in the pool.

  5. J.D.M.J. says:


    my sentiments exactly.

  6. bros says:

    seems like he is being awfully hard on himself.

  7. New Guess says:

    He’s probably just saying this to appease the few people in this country that think it’s a big deal. He is probably being told to pander to those that do care more… the media is making a big deal out of it and I’m sure his PR people want him to make nice with the media… luckily he only has the media to worry about since most of us could care less what he does in his free/off time. Until he starts hanging out with Lohan, I think he’s just fine.

  8. barneslr says:

    Who cares if he smoked some pot? I mean, it’s OK that Obama has done it–and he is the leader of the free world now–yet a young man who is NOT trusted with decisions that will affect the world is being battered by the media for doing the very same thing? I don’t think so.

    Swim, Michael, swim and ignore the idiots who criticize you. They are simply jealous that you are an accomplished person and they are not.

  9. Persistent Cat says:

    Yes because people will remember this in four years.

    I agree with Rules, he just wants attention.

    God he’s ugly.

  10. jay says:

    This reminds me of an sporting event that happened years ago
    It was the Vietnam war not the “war on drugs”
    and a certain Muhammad Ali has the principle to put his career on the line for his beliefs, how many MILLIONS of people have been incarcerated because of this absurd an unjust was, a war that has lasted longer than the Vietnam, Korean,Iraq, Afganistan, World War one and two combined.
    Most sporting events are backed by alcohol and nicotine companies, in my opinion far more devastating drugs to our community.
    I guess Michael want to suck at the teats of the major corporations that are more and more running this world
    When will people stand up for somthing that is so unfair? I forgot.. it only affects poor people..Rush Limbaugh and his ilk are not affected

  11. Jen says:

    If you read the article more closely, it’s pretty clear that he’s not reconsidering competing because he got busted smoking weed, but because the intense scrutiny he’s under is too much for him.

    He’s very young (only 23, the youngest and only boy in a family of women), and I can’t imagine the huge weight of responsibility that’s being placed on his shoulders by an adoring public. Just because he’s perfect in the pool does not mean he’s perfect out of the pool…and I can’t imagine the media circus he’d be in the middle of should he return to the Olympics to defend his epic 8-medal win.

    It’s a lot for him to consider, whether it’s worth sacrificing his private life for more swimming glory. I don’t envy his decision, and I would completely understand if he chose to walk away.

  12. anon says:

    Must be hard to fall off the pedestal. He can either work his way back up, or not. No point in crying over spilt milk.

  13. texas reppa says:


  14. RAN says:

    Bottom line, it doesn’t matter who did it, it’s currently an illegal substance – IE: against the law to possess or use – and DUI is illegal too. I agree/believe that marijuana should be legalized and we, as a country, should let go of our prudishness where this is concerned.

    However… big name companies are paying this little speck millions of dollars to have his picture promoted as the ‘wholesome one’ on Kellogg’s boxes, tv commercials, etc… For that reason, his arrogance should have been kept in check, because he just jeopardized his wholesome image – the same image that everyone has been trying to promote with his picture.

    Personally, I don’t think it’s fair that he gets a pass while everyone else has to pay the penalty for breaking the same law. And I agree with whomever said he’s just whining for attention. He said he was “sorry” and “embarrassed” and “it wouldn’t happen again” after the DUI thing.

  15. meow mix says:

    Maybe he should just smoke some pot and relax.

    Oh yeah that didn’t work. If that didn’t take the edge off nothing will.

  16. Merri Lee says:

    This isn’t as simple as “legalize it.” He’s an Olympian, so it would be an issue even if they sold pot at Rite Aid. It’s legal to ride motorcycles, but it you will be fined/suspended if you ride them and you are in the NBA/NFL/NHL/MLB.

  17. abbydoom says:

    Going with rules on this one, he’s obviously saying something along the lines of “if I’m not left alone I won’t swim for YOU.”