As Michael Phelps Checks Into Rehab, He and Coach Bob Bowman Face Multiple Challenges

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October 7, 2014

Shortly after this item was posted, USA Swimming announced that Michael Phelps has been suspended for six months.

 

by Irvin Muchnick

 

In the wake of his second drunk-driving arrest, Michael Phelps is headed to rehab. What is not being talked about is that Phelps is addicted to gambling as well as to alcohol. Cash-flow problems are reported to be a factor in his recent move to drop a long-time sponsorship deal with Speedo and sign with another apparel company, Aqua Sphere.

Phelps’ coach, the North Baltimore Aquatic Club’s Bob Bowman, has had better seasons, too. Swimming insiders say many top athletes are fleeing the program because Bowman is not improving their times, as advertised. The most prominent defector is Yannick Agnel, the Frenchman who moved to Baltimore with great fanfare last year. After a disappointing performance at this summer’s European Championships, Agnel decided to return to France. See http://olympictalk.nbcsports.com/2014/09/16/yannick-agnel-leaves-bob-bowman-swimming-france-james-magnussen-federica-pellegrini/.

Of course, the biggest crisis in organized swimming isn’t Phelps’ battle with his vices or Bowman’s falling stock. It’s the gathering federal investigation of longstanding USA Swimming sexual abuse and cover-up. This shapes up as a busy week in that department.

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