USA Swimming forced three-time Olympian Michael Phelps to withdraw from next year's world championship, took away his funding and suspended him for six months after he was arrested for driving under the influence in Baltimore last week, ESPN reported Monday. It was the second time he faced legal ramifications for DUI.
"Membership in USA Swimming, and particularly at the National Team level, includes a clear obligation to adhere to our Code of Conduct," USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus said in a statement on its website. "Should an infraction occur, it is our responsibility to take appropriate action based on the individual case. Michael's conduct was serious and required significant consequences."
USA Swimming Announces Discipline for Michael Phelps: 6-month suspension; Withdrawal from 2015 FINA World Champs http://t.co/1KqVQc1Rkv
— USA Swimming (@USASwimming) October 6, 2014
The measures, which were approved by the USA Swimming Executive Committee, will take effect immediately. However, he will still be allowed to train with his North Baltimore club.
Phelps’ trial is scheduled for Nov. 19. If convicted, the swimmer could spend up to one year in jail, receive a $1,000 fine and lose his driver's license for six months, the Associated Press reported.
''We think the sanctions are appropriate and we are glad that Michael is seeking help,'' U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun told the AP. ''We are grateful that nobody was hurt and appreciate the speed at which USA Swimming and Michael took action.''
Phelps revealed he would enter rehab Sunday to get well. He explained in a Facebook post: “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. 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.”
Prior to his rehab announcement, Phelps apologized for his actions. “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,” he said.
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