Is it doable?

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS October 13, 2014 #510 Up next…Is it doable?

After further review…”Swimming is a major part of my life. But right now I need to focus on me as an individual” stated Michael Phelps, unquestionably the most decorated Olympian of all time. He has won 22 Olympic medals: 18 Golds, 2 Silvers, and 2 Bronzes. Mark Spitz (9 Golds) and Matt Bondi (8 Golds) follow in gold medal count. But let’s not omit Jenny Thompson, Dana Torres and Natalie Coughlin – each of whom has 12 medals.

Phelps statement has little to do with his swimming prowess, but more with his appalling behind-the-wheel judgment. Phelps was arrested earlier this month for his second DUI which showed a blood-alcohol content of .14 – twice the legal limit allowed by the state of Maryland. His arrest report indicated “excessive speeding and crossing double-line lanes in Baltimore at 1:40am”! “Nothing good happens after midnight” former NFL Head Coach Herm Edwards regularly reminded his players. Unfortunately for Phelps, he never learned the Edwards’ Code!

USA Swimming, the governing body, suspended Phelps for six months. Good-on-them! Further, that same body banned him from next year’s U. S. T*E*A*M at the World Championships, as well as suspended his monthly stipend ($1,750). “I’ll make a million mistakes in my life, but as long as I never make the same mistake again, then I’ll be able to learn and grow” said Phelps. Good-on-you, Mr. Phelps!

Unfortunately, Phelps said that in 2012 after his first DUI (2004) arrest. Now, a short 2 years later, he has a second DUI. To his credit, Phelps voluntarily entered a six-week in-patient treatment program. Is it doable?

Any in-patient treatment program has more to it than just “entering voluntarily”. It has to do with a change in lifestyle, and, more often than not, a change in associates (called “friends”). However, if Phelps is serious, and he has good reason to be, he can make it “doable”. He can again be a world-class swimmer as well as a world-class citizen. But he needs support! His swim coach and his discipline of early morning workouts with countless hours of pool time made him a champion. Let’s hope his upcoming challenge involves a coach and self-discipline!

Will you maintain a discipline that leads you to be a citizen of good-standing?

To contact Jim go to or email

Jim’s new book “101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” has many stories of self-discipline.

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