Phelps Serves His Bong Hit Ban and Returns to the Pool

Posted May 6, 2009 by Carolyn E. Price
Michael Phelps has served his three-month suspension from competitive swimming for allegedly smoking marijuana and is now preparing for his return to the pool next week in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Michael Phelps wins 8th gold medal
Michael Phelps wins 8th gold medal,
After winning a record setting eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics in August 2008, Michael Phelps decided to take the next four months off. Spanning three Olympics, Phelps had won an astonishing 14 gold medals, two bronze medals and at his first Olympics, in Sydney, Australia when he was 15-years-old, he earned a 5th place in the 200 meter butterfly.
In other words, since he's been 10-years-old, Michael Phelps has been eating, sleeping, walking, studying and breathing, swimming.
His mother, Debbie Phelps, said in her memoir "A Mother For A Seasons" that just after he won his first Olympic gold medal, she saw a smile on Michael's face that has never been matched since, and when he finally reached her at the fence between the warm down and the competition pools, he simply beamed at her and said "Mom, look what I did.
In January of 2009, Phelps was back in Beijing filming a car company advertisement campaign for television. He had this to say about himself after taking those four months off:
My shape is non-existent right now. Four months has been the longest time I've been away. I know it will be a lot of pain for the first few months.
Little did he know what kind of pain he was about to experience.
On February 1, 2009, News of the World published a photograph showing Phelps inhaling a smoky substance from a bong pipe, an implement traditionally used to smoke marijuana.
In the days and weeks to follow, Phelps was pilloried in the press, told he might be charged and prosecuted by a local sheriff in the county where the alleged incident took place, was suspended from competitive swimming for three months by USA Swimming, and lost one of his endorsement deals after being summarily dropped by one of his major sponsors, Kellog's.
On Tuesday of this week, Phelps' suspension was finished and it is being reported that he will compete in the Charlotte Ultra Swim meet, being held in Charlotte, North Carolina, on May 14-17.
Phelps is planning on competing in five disciplines at the meet in Charlotte, the 200 meter freestyle and the 200 meter butterfly, both of which he competed in Beijing, and three 'new' races, the 200 meter backstroke, and the 50 meter and 100 meter freestyle.
Here is the statement Phelps released just after the photos were published by the News of the World on February 1, 2009:
I engaged in behaviour which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment.
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.
Michael Phelps has been tested over 1,500 times in his career as a swimmer and has never once tested positive for any banned substance.
Here's what one blogger thinks Phelps should have said back in February after he was suspended:
Dear America,
I take it back. I don’t apologize.
Because you know what? It’s none of your goddamned business. I work my ass off 10 months a year. It’s that hard work that gave you all those gooey feelings of patriotism last summer. If during my brief window of down time I want to relax, enjoy myself, and partake of a substance that’s a hell of a lot less bad for me than alcohol, tobacco, or, frankly, most of the prescription drugs most of you are taking, well, you can spare me the lecture.
... Here’s a crazy thought: If I can smoke a little dope and go on to win 14 Olympic gold medals, maybe pot smokers aren’t doomed to lives of couch surfing and video games, as our moronic government would have us believe. In fact, the list of successful pot smokers includes not just world class athletes like me, Howard, Williams, and others, it includes Nobel Prize winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, the last three U.S. presidents, several Supreme Court justices, and luminaries and success stories from all sectors of business and the arts, sciences, and humanities.
Interesting points, no?