Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps said he is going to take “some time away” from swimming to focus on himself less than a week after being arrested for driving under the influence in Baltimore.
“The past few days have been extremely difficult,” Phelps said in a statement posted on his Twitter and Facebook accounts. “I recognize that this is not my first lapse in judgment, and I am extremely disappointed with myself. I’m going to take some time away to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself.
“Swimming is a major part of my life, but right now I need to focus my attention on me as an individual, and do the necessary work to learn from this experience and make better decisions in the future.”
On Tuesday, Phelps was also charged with excessive speed and crossing double lane lines within the Fort McHenry Tunnel on I-95 in Baltimore, the Maryland Transportation Authority Police said. Police said he was driving 84 mph in a 45-mph zone.
When Phelps was pulled over just before the toll plaza, he “appeared to be under the influence” and “was unable to perform satisfactorily a series of standard field sobriety tests,” according to the police statement. Phelps was cooperative throughout the process, police said. He was later released.
This charge is not Phelps’ first DUI-related offense. In 2004, a then-19-year-old Phelps was arrested for drunken driving and was ultimately sentenced to 18 months of probation.