SAN DIEGO — Michael Phelps, the most decorated athlete in Olympic history, has a checkered and well-publicized history with alcohol and drug use.
But is the 22-time Olympic medalist an alcoholic?
“I don’t know,” was his candid response when the question was put to him. “I honestly don’t know.”
“I know I probably have moments where I have gone off the deep end where I shouldn’t.”
USA Swimming suspended Phelps for six months in 2014 for his second DUI arrest — the first coming ten years earlier — and he was left out of the U.S. team for the 2015 World Championships.
Shortly afterwards, Phelps attended a six-week, in-patient program to “provide the help I need to better understand myself.”
“I checked myself in because I think I was at a point in my life where something needed to change,” Phelps told NBC.
In 2009, a year after his historic eight-gold medal haul at the Beijing Olympics, a photo emerged of Phelps smoking marijuana in an incident he said made him realize who his real friends were.
The 30-year-old is currently training for what will be his fifth Olympic Games at Rio 2016.
“I want to retire how I want to retire — and I have a great opportunity to do that,” he said.