Phelps had 'mush mouth'

Michael Phelps (Getty)
Michael Phelps (Getty)
Washington - Olympic swimming superstar Michael Phelps had bloodshot eyes and "mush mouth" diction when he was pulled over and arrested for drunk driving, according to police documents obtained by The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday.

Phelps was arrested Tuesday in his home state of Maryland, and the documents detail the probable cause for his arrest as reported by the officer on the scene.

That included a breathalyser test showing a blood-alcohol level of .14 - well above Maryland's legal limit of .08.

Phelps - the most decorated Olympian of all time with 18 golds out of 22 total medals and an eye on another run at the 2016 Games in Rio - has already apologised for the incident, saying he was "deeply sorry" for his actions.

The 29-year-old was pulled over early on Tuesday after his white Land Rover was clocked at 84 miles (135km) per hour in a 45 mph zone in Baltimore's Fort McHenry Tunnel, Maryland Transportation Authority Police said.

The arresting officer described "a strong odour of an alcoholic beverage emitting from the vehicle.

"I observed that the operator's eyes were red, bloodshot, and his speech was mush mouth," the officer says.

According to the documents, Phelps had "trouble maintaining his balance" when performing a walk and turn field sobriety test, and declined a test of balancing on one leg.

Phelps, who was been charged with driving under the influence (DUI), excessive speed and crossing double lane lines, told the officer he had imbibed "three or four" drinks at the newly opened Horseshoe Casino.

Phelps quickly expressed remorse.

"I understand the severity of my actions and take full responsibility," he told his 1.6 million Twitter followers.

"I know these words may not mean much right now but I am deeply sorry to everyone I have let down."

It's not the first time Phelps has found himself in similar circumstances.

Ten years ago, Phelps pleaded guilty to driving while impaired in rural Maryland. He was sentenced to 18 months' probation and fined $250 for what he later described as an "isolated incident."

He was under the microscope again in 2009 - after his glittering eight-gold haul at the 2008 Beijing Olympics - when a photograph of him apparently smoking a marijuana pipe was published in a British tabloid and went viral.

That incident saw him suspended from swimming for three months. So far, USA Swimming's response to his arrest on Tuesday has been guarded.

"The news regarding Michael Phelps and his actions are disappointing and unquestionably serious," the federation said in a statement. "We expect our athletes to conduct themselves responsibly in and out of the pool."

Phelps retired from competitive swimming after the 2012 Olympics in London, but launched a comeback earlier this year.

He made a dazzling return to international competition last month, picking up three gold medals at the Pan Pacific Championships in Australia.

His strong showing - under the guidance of his long-time coach Bob Bowman - bolstered hopes that he might compete for the United States at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
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