Door Opened to Possibility of Michael Phelps Racing at 2015 World Championships

Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps by Patrick B Kraemer

When Michael Phelps was handed a six-month suspension by USA Swimming for the DUI charge he incurred last year, along with the penalty came Phelps’ removal from the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia. Well, the door has been left ajar for the possible reinstatement of the 22-time Olympic medalist to the Team USA squad bound for the World Champs.

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When Michael Phelps was handed a six-month suspension by USA Swimming for the DUI charge he incurred last year, along with the penalty came Phelps’ removal from the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia. Well, the door has been left ajar for the possible reinstatement of the 22-time Olympic medalist to the Team USA squad bound for the World Champs.

Comments

Clive Rushton

Excellent. I understood the 6-month suspension but the WCh ban didn’t make sense.

Craig Lord

Quite so, Clive – made no sense – an over-action from USA Swimming pandering to a domestic audience and a culture in which DUI is seen by some as tantamount to murder (not defending what he did but there was a huge dollop of over-reaction in my opinion – It was always a matter for the law to handle before a swim federation came to a sensible view… which to my mind, and in the context of what else is going on in the world of swimming, ought not to have stretched to restriction of trade beyond a period of suspension.

I only wish federations such as USA Swimming were quite so eager and willing and speedy when its comes to sending a message on bad governance, failing to apply rules, failing to enforce the WADA Code, failing to call the executive to account, failing to speak out on behalf of athletes left in the firing line of boycott, not to mention the tardiness that will long be associated with the handling of abuse cases.

Michael Phelps should swim at 2015 worlds if he wants to and if he qualifies. There is no good reason for those things not to happen.

felixdangerpants

His good mate Tyler Clary will be thrilled.

Lennart van Haaften

That would be great. I wonder if he could get back (some of) those individual spots though, now they have been given to others.

Craig Lord

I don’t think so, Lennart, but maybe someone knows better…

TommyL

I read on another website that Tyler Clary would be happy to give up the 200IM spot.

Craig Lord

That would make sense in the chase for medals, I would imagine, TommyL

Craig Lord

Thanks TommyL – That’s the article John refers to …

Rafael

On 200 IM Phelps would probably be a bigger shot than Clary..

100 fly I do not know if the change of guys can change the outcome (Maybe Phelps can beat Le Clos but not sure)

On 100 free.. I Don´t know if Phelps will want the 100 free individual.. But I can´t see Locthe or Phelps on final.. Phelps might have a chance.. but would be tiring..

Kim

No, it is not complicated – no Kazan for Michael!

Craig Lord

Kim, I think he’ll be there – and if not there, then wherever the world champs may be held if world politics takes a turn for even worse than we’ve already seen…

jman

Wow, can’t believe the discussion of too harsh a penalty. Phelps has a history of substance abuse incidents and it may have only been a matter of time before he seriously hurt himself or others. Sometimes this level of punishment is needed (just like punishing child that habitually breaks rules) and in this case i would say that it may have helped Phelps finally get the level of help needed and matured him (basing that on his engagement). I think there needs to be thought about this and not just on his swimming.

Lennart van Haaften

I doubt Wielgus would discuss this with the media if he wasn’t confident that Phelps will make it.

Craig Lord

Jman, he was indeed punished, of course – not only by a swim fed but by the authority that counts most – the law. Keeping him away from a world champs at his age is unlikely to contribute to a change in behaviour… that requires professional help…. which he has sought out and is pursuing. A fair few athletes who tested positive and served lenient suspensions will race at worlds this year – for swimming, that’s a bigger problem. DUI is considered more serious and less in various places around the world; the levels of what is allowed vary, too. I think no-one in this conversation and the much longer one we’ve had before in this place condones DUI at all but the issue is one for the law – and that dealt with it. USA Swimming gave him 6 months out (not 3 months in secret for a banned heart drug…for example) – many think that suffices.

Lennart van Haaften

jman, Phelps did receive a punishment from his federation and he got help for his problems. And this offense was unrelated to swimming so punishment should primarily be the responsibility of a civil (non-sports) court.

Lennart van Haaften

Like Craig said.:P

John Lohn

Agreed that punishment was definitely needed and the six months was the penalty that was deemed proper by USA Swimming.
However, if the U.S. held its Trials for the World Champs in the summer, as it does the majority of the time for a major international event, then Phelps would have been eligible to compete in that meet as it would be outside the six months.
Therefore, reinstatement does not seem out of line since the World Champs fall outside of the six month window.

Blah

It’s Michael Phelps. They will do what they can to ensure he swims.

pol

First and foremost Tim Phillips has no business to swim the 100m b. He didn’t earn it. Second, USA Swimming’s punishment was for their own image and they didn’t have any jurisdiction because it was a personal issue to begin with. And lastly, Phelps qualified fair and square.

Craig Lord

pol: the image thing and reason for doing what they did and when was just as you say. Spot on. It was a mistake and an over-reaction that spoke to the mistakes made over abuse cases, the lesson learned that silence is no option. The mistake stretched to this: one of the biggest defences any swim fed has when abuse cases arise is that they are a secondary authority in matters of law: police, the courts first – the fed’s job in that process one of cooperation with prosecuting authorities and offers of support for victims. In Phelps’ case, they judged and over-punished before a court had heard the case and made a judgment. In my view, that was a mistake. The swimmer’s admission of guilt, it can be argued, demanded instant action, and few found the 6-month ban inappropriate. The ban from a world titles went too far and had much to do with ‘being seen to be doing the right thing’ … now there is likely to be a change of heart, one that may also be regarded as a U-turn. It needn’t have been like that: USA Swimming could quite easily have worked with the athlete and insisted that he got help as a condition of him retaining his world-titles slot, without the need to say: ‘removed from team’ etc.

Viva la Bang

Of course they want him to swim, Its all about making money!

pol

Well, Phelps earned his spot. He qualified fair and square. USA Swimming’s decision to suspend him for 6 months was ok for me but to take away his spot that he earned was the biggest slap in the face for someone who carried the US Team in the biggest events for so many years. Phelps already served his punishment. If he continues to be an as* by being drunk then that’s his personal problem and the rule of law in the ordinary court will prevail.

Rafael

Actually.. I think a lot of sports body codes states that based on the law problem an athlete can be suspended or even banned.. If Phelps gets another drunk problem and the judge decides that he will go to jail… US swimming will have no choice than to ban him from all pro competitions..

Craig Lord

Rafael, you may well be right… but we note your order as it should be – law first, fed 2nd…

jman

Craig and Lennart, uugh. So sad. I’m glad he got the help he needed and i’m glad USA Swimming worked to get him there, partially by the suspension. A technique in behavior change is to have a consequence that is real. I’m so glad he has people that care about him at USA Swimming and since he has now gone above and beyond in his rehab they rightfully are considering (carefully) reinstatement.

Craig Lord

I agreed with those sentiments jman – i just don’t think they got the nuance quite right – I think they should have waited for the law, then I think they should have worked with the swimmer without a world champs ban (and with a suspended-sentence approach tagged to getting help) … what happened spoke more to his celebrity status that anything else, as Natalie C suggests: her comments are spot on, for me: http://www.swimvortex.com/presence-of-michael-phelps-at-world-champs-would-mean-measure-of-consistency/

Viva la Bang

What i find amazing is the lack of professional help given to current and former swimmers, Its quite clear there are issues for some, whether that is dealing with success or failure, You would think a person of Micheal’s stature, or Ian Thorpe , Grant Hackett etc would have the means to seek help before things got to the stage they did.

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