If your watching TV, you’ve probably seen that the Olympics are going on right now. I have been watching more than my fair share of Olympics. One constant frustration for me is the continual mention of Michael Phelps. He has done some great things, like win 8 Gold medals in a week. He is truly a phenomenal swimmer, but I don’t like him as a role model.
In 2004, after the Olympics were over, Phelps was arrested for a DUI. He was sentenced to 18 months probation and instructed to give several speeches to locals schools about the negatives of driving under the influence. That was the end of it. There has been relatively no mention about Phelps’ DUI in this Olympics. Why? I would think it is because they don’t want to tarnish Michael Phelps during the games. He is supposed to be a role model, someone everyone aspires to be. How would parents feel if they knew that the person their kids were looking up to had committed a DUI? Is that the same role model?
Now, there is something for giving everyone a second chance. Phelps made a mistake and moved on. We should all be so wise. However, I don’t think the plan of ignoring it is the correct path to take. I lost respect for him because of that. I would have him come out and use his success, use this event, to prevent other kids from getting into the same problem. So, he made it out of his DUI with just 18 months probation, a fine and some speeches; maybe the next kid will get in an accident hurt themselves or someone else. I feel like he dropped the ball here. He had an opportunity to do an amazing good, far beyond simply winning gold medals.
Instead, he just takes the fame and leaves the rest. That’s not something I admire, that is not something I look up to. I’m very happy for you Michael, you are truly great athlete, but I wish you were a stronger person.