Michael Phelps’ Image Takes Another ‘Hit’ as He Heads to Rehab

michael phelps

Michael Phelps, 29, is the most decorated Olympian in history, with 22 medals (18 of them gold) from the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics. And although he “retired” after the London Olympics, the guy is used to a certain joie de vivre. He loves the spotlight.

Let’s say it provides him a certain “high.”

The lackluster pedestrian life might not be enough for Phelps. According to Maryland police, Phelps was “speeding excessively and crossing double lane lines within the Fort McHenry Tunnel on Interstate 95 in Baltimore around 1:40 a.m. Tuesday.”

After a DUI and a good amount of public shame, Phelps decided not to say “no, no, no”: he’s headed to rehab.

phelps bongYou may recall that this isn’t Phelps’ first encounter with the law. He was arrested for DUI in 2004 and apologized for the incident later that day. TMZ later reported that Phelps had been on an “8-hour gambling binge” at a Baltimore casino before his arrest.

Five years (and one Olympics) later, Phelps was caught hitting a bong at a college party and admitted he “was out of control.”

Last week, he was found to be driving 84 mph in a 45-mph zone with a blood alcohol level “nearly twice the legal limit.”

Obviously, these legal troubles and drug issues are a huge PR hit for the Olympic champion. And we think it’s a little unfair. Many people assume athletes are taking drugs — especially if they’re in the NFL or MLB.

However, when you compete for the entire United States, people expect a little more. Regretfully, the man who personifies the Olympics more than any other is not living up to those outsized expectations.

So is America, and that’s why Phelps packed a few Subway sammiches and went to rehab.

Will this “attention” help?

One thing is clear: some sponsors won’t be paying quite as much attention to him now.