Olympic athletes have proven that despite their extraordinary athletic abilities they do make mistakes like normal people.
On Sept. 30 American swimmer, Michael Phelps was arrested for DUI after failing a sobriety test. Police stopped him for speeding 84 mph in a 45 mph tunnel and crossing double lane lines in his hometown of Baltimore. His blood alcohol level was nearly twice the limit.
Lucky for him his first DUI in 2004 will not count; under Maryland law, a DUI’s shelf life is five years. If convicted, the 29-year-old could spend up to a year in jail, pay a $1,000 fine and endure a six-month driver’s license suspension.
Phelps has also faced criticism and lost sponsors for a photo of him inhaling marijuana from a pipe at a college party in 2009. Regarding his DUI arrest, the 18-time gold medalist issued an apology the same day, then on Oct. 5 he announced through a series of tweets that he plans to enter rehab.
Phelps came out of his 2012 retirement, winning three gold medals and two silvers at the Pan Pacific Championships in Australia in August. He’s hoping to compete in next summer’s world championships and the 2016 Rio Games in Brazil.
Here are 7 other athletes whose acts off the Olympic stage has gotten them arrested, stripped of their titles or in court for murder:
1) The trial for Oscar Pistorius is coming to a close. The 27-year-old South African, paraplegic athlete is facing murder charges for his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp’s death on Valentine’s Day. The defense for the six-time Paralympics gold medalist — he thought Steenkamp was an intruder hiding in the bathroom. He shot four bullets through the door killing her. A South African court found him not guilty of premeditated murder, but has found him guilty of un-culpable homicide or involuntary manslaughter. The courts unintentional killing verdict shocked audiences watching from around the world. Pistorius escaped various lesser charges but could face up to 15 years in prison. His sentencing date is Oct 13. Pistorius was the first Paralympian to compete in an able-bodied Olympic track event at the 2012 London games.
2) Shaun White
Two-time Olympic half pipe gold medalist Shaun White, was charged with vandalism and public intoxication Sept. 16, 2012 in Nashville. The pro snowboarder was attending a wedding when he decided 2 a.m. was the right time to pull a fire alarm. He then broke a phone and attempted to flee the scene in a cab at the Lowes Vanderbilt Hotel. Police said the 26-year-old hit his head on a fence when trying to attack a hotel guest who chased after him. The picture on the rights shows the millionaire clothing line, bike line and video game owner with his exclusive party favor, a black eye.
3) Simon Cho
Trying to get ahead of the competition, American short-track speed skater, Simon Cho admitted to tampering with a Canadian rival’s blades at the 2011 World Championship in Poland. Cho said his coach Jae Su Chun made him do it. The International Skating Union looked into Cho’s claims and suspended the one-time bronze Olympic medalist for two years, making him lose the chance to qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
4) Peter Farkas
This Hungarian Greci-Roman wrestler, Peter Farkas, was arrested for running a marijuana growing operation with his brother in Budapest, Hungary. In 2009 the 1992 Olympic gold medalist was sentenced to 7 years in prison for drug charges. He escaped police custody and was absent from his trail when sentenced but was later arrested in Andorra near Spain.
5) Tonya Harding
The drama of Tonya Harding and the attack of her figure skating rival Nancy Kerrigan played out on national television. Harding’s ex-husband teamed up with her body-guard to have Kerrigan’s legs broken before the 1994 U.S. Championships. Kerrigan’s thigh was bruised after a hit man came at her with a baton. The injury knocked her out of the competition. Harding plead guilty to trying to cover up the attack and was banned from figure skating for life. The two-time Olympian moved on with her life by making a sex tape and participating in a celebrity boxing match. She was arrested in 2000 for throwing hubcaps.
6 & 7) Tim Montgomery and Marion Jones
Once the fastest couple in the world Tim Montgomery and Marion Jones were disgraced after being caught in a plan to deposit $5 million in counterfeit checks. They were charged in 2006 for the elaborate plan that included 12 other people. Both used performance-enhancing drugs during the 2000 Olympics, Marion Jones was stripped of her three Olympic track and field medals, and Montgomery lost his gold medal from the same Sydney games. The couple has a child together and both spent prison time. Jones served six months and Montgomery served time for 9 years for the scheme and for dealing heroin.
Their amazing talents make us think Olympians are a different breed blessed by the Gods but get them in situations off of the field or ice and you’ll know they are only human.