Michael Phelps Suspended For 6 Months After DUI Arrest

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On Monday, 29-year-old Michael Phelps’ was suspended by the USA Swimming for 6 months and they are forcing him to withdraw from world championships in 2015.

He also lost six months of funding from the sport’s national governing body as he was taken into custody for DUI for the second time. He is also banned from participating in USA Swimming-sanctioned meets through 6th of April 2015.

According to the USA Swimming, Phelps violated its Code of Conduct and gave the reference of a section of its 2014 Rule Book in punishing him. Its executive committee approved the sanctions, which took effect immediately.

USA Swimming executive director, Chuck Wielgus said, “Michael’s conduct was serious and required significant consequences. We endorse and are here to fully support his personal development actions”.

Phelps can still train with his North Baltimore club but he had already qualified for the world championships in Russia next August, which is the largest international meet leading up to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Earlier in 2014, Phelps came out of retirement with his sights set on competing at a fifth Olympics in Rio.

He was taken into custody almost a month ago after Phelps won 3 golds and two silvers at the Pan Pacific Championships in Australia. He had retired after the 2012 London Olympics, having won a record 18 gold medals and 22 medals in 4 games.

Phelps’ monthly funding stipend of $1,750 will be suspended for 6 months, costing him a total of $10,500. That is a tiny amount as compared to the millions he earns through several major endorsements in which Aqua Sphere, Subway, Under Armour, Omega and Master Spas are included.

According to a statement from his representatives at Octagon, “Michael accepts USA Swimming’s sanctions. He has apologized for his actions and, as he shared yesterday, is taking steps to address them”.

Over the weekend, Phelps announced he was participating in a six-week, in-patient program, a week after he was taken into custody and charged with DUI in his hometown of Baltimore.

He said on his Twitter, “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”.

“We think the sanctions are appropriate and we are glad that Michael is seeking help. We are grateful that nobody was hurt and appreciate the speed at which USA Swimming and Michael took action,” said U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun.

While Phelps was still working out his schedule for 2015, he will miss the first 3 U.S. Grand Prix meets in Minneapolis in November, to be held in Austin, Texas, in January and Orlando, Florida, in February. The earliest he could return to Grand Prix competition will be at a meet in Mesa, Arizona, that starts on 15th of April.

USA Swimming’s punishment was its strictest ever given to its superstar. In 2009, the governing body suspended Phelps for 3 months after a photo emerged of him using a marijuana pipe, even though he was not charged for the offense.

USA Swimming took no action when he was taken into custody for DUI in 2004.

Phelps was charged on 30th of September with DUI, excessive speed and crossing double lane lines on Interstate 95. A sample taken for testing showed his BAC level at .14%. He was stopped by the officers on a speeding violation. The legal limit which is allowed for driving in Maryland is .08 percent.

On 19th of November, he is summoned to court for a scheduled trial.

If convicted, Phelps faces up to 1 year in prison, a $1,000 fine and the loss of his driver’s license for 6 months.

In 2004, Phelps was taken into custody and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, fresh from the Athens Olympics, where he won 6 gold medals.

Phelps pleaded guilty to the charges but as a young 1st time offender he avoided conviction. A judge imposed 18 months’ probation and a fine but didn’t convict him, which means Phelps now faces the same penalties a 1st time offender would.

News Source: www.Fox10Phoenix.com

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