Swimming star Michael Phelps
is questioning his return to compete in the 2012 Olympics after he was caught up in a drug scandal last weekend.
The 23-year-old athlete was forced to apologize in a statement on Sunday after British newspaper the News of the World
published a shot of the gold medalist holding a glass pipe associated with marijuana use - commonly known as a bong
- to his lips at a party in Columbia, South Carolina that took place in November.
A police spokesman for the state force claimed on Wednesday the star could be prosecuted over the incident, and cops have since launched an investigation into the incident to determine whether charges could be brought against Phelps. And the intense public scrutiny has left Phelps contemplating whether he should swim in the 2012 Olympic Games.
He tells the Baltimore Sun
, "This is a decision of mine that I'm not going to make today and I'm not going to make tomorrow. It's going to require a lot of time and energy and a lot of thinking for myself - but also talking to (coach) Bob (Bowman) and talking to my family and just deciding what I want to do. Yeah, there are still goals that I have in the pool, 100 per cent. But I'm not going to let anything stand in my way. If I decide to walk away, I'll decide to walk away on my own terms. If it's now, if it's four years, who knows. But it is something I need to think about and decide what I want to do."
However, Phelps adds his biggest challenge is coping with the effects the incident has had on his family, adding: "It's something I am going to have to live with, and something I'll have to grow from. Seeing my mum reminded me of how it was the day after I got my DUI, and I swore to myself I'd never do that again. We've been talking a lot. I've been able to get back to my family. Its part of my life I need back."
Phelps received 18 months probation following his 2004 arrest for the drunk driving incident.
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(This news article provided by World Entertainment News Network)