The UK tabloids like the Times Online make it sound like no athlete has ever been caught smoking weed before. Then again, were we really that surprised when most of them were caught? Actually, Phelps has been pushing this squeaky clean image since the Beijing games got over, although it sounds like his lack of public speaking skills may have cost him some endorsement deals (most I have seen him in so far feature him swimming, and NOT talking). So, here’s the basics behind the story: Phelps was visiting the University of South Carolina because he’s secretly dating a coed who goes there, and surprised everyone by stopping in at a house party. He probably surprised them even more when he started hitting a bong and, of course, someone took a picture of it. Of course, no one sent it to me, although I might have doubted it was him in the picture, based on the angle. But the British tabloid The Sun couldn’t resist and once the picture was posted, all hell broke lose. The real question is: even thought pot is not considered a “performance enhancing drug” it is still banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which sets rules and oversees testing for Olympic-level sports and could result in a two year ban for Phelps.
According to the Times, Phelps has admitted that’s him in the picture and has apologized saying:
“I engaged in behaviour which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment,” Phelps said. “I am 23 years old and, despite the successes I have had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner that people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again.”