Michael Phelps: What’s Behind His Drinking, The decline of an American Legend?
Fittest Man of All Time 2012 award winner, and most decorated Olympian in history, Michael Phelps, was unable to stand on one foot during sobriety testing September 30, according to the Baltimore police arrest report. The same report shows Phelps’s blood alcohol level was .14, well over the .08 legal limit for driving. He was clocked at 84 mph in a posted 45 mph zone, and observed making unsafe lane changes. Fortunately he didn’t wreck or hurt anyone.
What isn’t in the objective data collected by police officers is the motive behind Phelps’s binge drinking and bad judgement? (Worth an estimated $55 million, he could have a driver employed 24/7.)
Is Phelps lonely? Is he bored? Is he scared?
Perhaps he’s been out of his comfort zone during retirement, a fish out of water, and perhaps doubt has begun to roost–a sort of premature mid-life crisis, which may have started from bad publicity in the bong incident of 2009.
Michael Moyer of The Washington Post offered his opinion yesterday:
America wants its Olympic heroes to be clear-eyed, straight-talking supermen and superwomen. Yet as the checkered resumes of Tonya Harding, Hope Solo and Lance Armstrong show, they are often less than, well, Olympian ideals.
This isn’t surprising. Olympians are put through extreme physical and mental training at a young age. It’s their job to grasp at goals that are, by definition, likely not achievable. And by the time they’re spit out by the Olympic machine — often under age 30 — they must find a life outside the well-defined boundaries of soccer fields, boxing rings and curling sheets.
But for better or worse, incredibly rich or slightly less incredibly rich, Phelps will likely again never be as good at the one thing he was best in the world at. And he was so good at swimming that it may have spoiled him for everything else.
It’s a comedown big enough to drive a man to drink.
At the same time as the real DUI was going down, a fictitious story hit Facebook reporting Phelps had died. What a weird coincidence.
This came from MediaMass:
Rumors of the athlete’s alleged demise gained traction on Wednesday after a ‘R.I.P. Michael Phelps’ Facebook page attracted nearly one million of ‘likes’. Those who read the ‘About’ page were given a believable account of the American athlete’s passing:
“At about 11 a.m. ET on Wednesday (October 01, 2014), our beloved athlete Michael Phelps passed away. Michael Phelps was born on June 30, 1985 in Baltimore. He will be missed but not forgotten. Please show your sympathy and condolences by commenting on and liking this page.”
Hundreds of fans immediately started writing their messages of condolence on the Facebook page, expressing their sadness that the talented 29-year-old athlete was dead.
Based on the Baltimore police report, it is apparent that he is alive, but not quite well.
Get your act together, Michael. You are too young, too bright, too much of an American role model to resort to binge drinking, and then risking lives by driving drunk. Remember what you told us in 2009, after the pot bust:
“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.”–ESPN Olympic Sports
Part of Michael Phelps’s resume, from CBS, Baltimore:
Setting the Bar at 22 Medals: The all-time leading overall medalist in Olympics history.
• 2 Bronze. 2 Silver. 18 Gold.
• ESPN ESPY awards for “Best Male Olympic Athlete” and “Best Record Breaking Performance.” (2013)
• Men’s Health Magazine’s “Fittest Man of All Time” in 2012.
• AP Male Athlete Of The Year 2012
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