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12 Nov 2004 00:00
Australian swimming superstar Ian Thorpe has called rival Michael Phelps an idiot after the young American was arrested this week for drunk driving.
Phelps (19), whose eight medals at this year’s Athens Olympics included six golds, was arrested and charged with drunk driving in Salisbury, Maryland.
Phelps, two years younger than the state’s legal age for drinking alcohol, also faces charges of impaired driving, failing to stop and violating licence restrictions.
His trial is expected to start in December or January.
Thorpe, Australia’s most successful Olympian, on Friday slammed Phelps for his actions.
“I don’t know the full details but I think that anyone who drunk drives is an idiot, and that was pretty stupid,” Thorpe told Australian Associated Press in Sydney.
“I am sure he is sorry for his actions. I just think young people in Australia are really against drunk driving, so that is what makes it a little disappointing, I guess.”
Phelps has been backed by sponsors and has retained lawyers to defend him on drunk-driving charges.
The Baltimore Sun reported that his sponsors have come to the support of Phelps, who has issued an apology for his actions.
Phelps chased a singles Olympic record of seven gold medals set by Mark Spitz but fell one title short, settling for six golds and two bronzes at Athens last August.
He missed out on a $1-million bonus that would have come from matching Spitz, but that Speedo sponsor deal includes another chance at the jackpot at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.—Sapa-AFP
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