Six-time Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps apologized Monday for his arrest last week on charges of driving under the influence in Salisbury, Md.
"I made a mistake and I wanted to share my feelings about it," Phelps told ESPN The Magazine's Eric Adelson. "Getting into a car with anything to drink is wrong. It's dangerous and it's unacceptable. I'm 19, but was taught that no matter how old you are, you take responsibility for actions, which I will do.
"I'm extremely sorry."
A state trooper observed Phelps fail to heed a stop sign in his 2005 SUV in Salisbury at approximately 11:50 p.m. Thursday, according to a statement released by state police. Police cited Phelps for driving under the influence of alcohol, driving while impaired for alcohol, violation for a license restriction and failure to obey a traffic control device.
After signing the traffic citations, Phelps was released at approximately 1 a.m. Friday into the custody of a friend, police said. There were two other unnamed individuals in the vehicle at the time of Phelps' arrest. According to a news release, Phelps was fully cooperative with police.
"At first, I was kind of angry," Phelps' coach Bob Bowman told Adelson. "I wanted to make sure he was OK. Then I got really angry. He had everything going for him. Such a lapse in judgment. I'm sorry for everyone who supported him, which is everyone. He let himself down; he let us all down."
Police did not give specific details of Phelps' alcohol content, although the legal limit is .08 in Maryland for someone 21 or older. Any statements or observations from the arresting trooper or results of tests were considered evidence and would not be discussed pending court proceedings, police said. Phelps, who is from Baltimore, will have to appear in court at a future date, where he can decide whether to enter a plea or go to trial.
Phelps, wearing a Baltimore Ravens jersey, was introduced to the crowd before the team's game Sunday night.
"To the best of my knowledge, this is an isolated incident," said Bowman, who began coaching at Michigan this fall. "Clearly there's a price to be paid legally. I would hope that he's going to use this and turn it into a positive so that other people can learn from his mistakes. My great hope is that he can be a stronger person and a better person and get back on track to do the things he's born to do."
Phelps won a record-tying eight medals, including six golds, at the Athens Games in August.
After years of intense training, Phelps has had to adjust to a life in transition. He plans to attend Michigan next semester, where he'll be ineligible to compete at that level. In the meantime, he pulled out of Worlds in October with a back injury that reminded him of the lumbar-spine problem that ended his sister's career. Bowman believes Phelps will fully recover, but Phelps has swam less over the past month than he has in more than a decade. Phelps visited Ann Arbor last weekend to see a Michigan football game, and he told Bowman he was "tired of not having a routine."
"It's so out of character, that's what's so sad about it," Bowman said. "The Michael you saw in Athens was the real Michael. That was no act. That's Michael."
If Phelps is convicted of driving under the influence of
alcohol, he could receive a year in jail, a $1,000 fine and 12
points on his driver's license for a first offense, The (Baltimore)
Sun reported. He could be subject to a 60-day sentence and a $500
fine if convicted on a first offense on the charge of driving while
On either charge, a judge could give a defendant probation
before judgment or impose a lesser penalty, but the driver could
still lose his driving privileges.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.