BALTIMORE (AP) - Olympic champion Michael Phelps said Wednesday
that he is going to have to live with the fallout from a photo of him smoking from a marijuana pipe.
Phelps spoke to The Associated Press about the ordeal outside the pool where he trains. The public comments were his first since the photo surfaced in a British tabloid over the weekend.
"It's something I am going to have to live with and something I'll have to grow from," Phelps said. "I know with all of the mistakes I made, I learned from them and that is what I expect to do from this. By no means it is fun for me, by no means is it easy."
Wearing a black sweat suit and shaking off the remaining drops of water in his hair after a workout at the Meadowbrook Aquatic Center, Phelps said the most important thing for him is that he was back in the pool training.
"I'm back to my routine, the thing I love, the thing I care about most," he said. "To be able to get back in the water and get back to a normal schedule is what I am happy about most."
Phelps and his coach, Bob Bowman, in November gained ownership
of Meadowbrook and the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, where the
swimmer began training at age 7.
Phelps issued a public apology to fans and sponsors Sunday after
the British tabloid News of the World published a picture that appeared to show the Olympic champion smoking marijuana during a November house party at the University of South Carolina.
Phelps declined to address the possibility of criminal charges and reiterated his desire to put the furor behind him.
The marijuana photo wasn't the first time Phelps has been in trouble for his activities away from the pool. After the 2004 Athens Games, an underage Phelps was arrested for drunken driving, pleaded guilty and apologized to his fans.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)