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Michael Phelps: 'Bad Mistake' With Bong Was 'Just Celebrating, Honestly'

In an interview to air on Friday with Matt Lauer on the 'Today' show, Michael Phelps says he was shocked when he first heard a photo of him holding a bong had leaked out.

"I had no idea really what to do," he says. "You know, I knew that I'd made a mistake and made a bad judgment."

"And it was an awful judgment. The people I hurt, you know, is my family, clearly. My friends. The close people around me. And most importantly, the fans. And-- and, you know, I realize that it hurt a lot of people."

"I'd made a mistake and made a bad judgment. And I know that when you do make a mistake you're responsible for all of the consequences. And I was willing to, you know, accept the fact that I did make a mistake. I mean, we all know what, you know, what you and I are talking about. And it's something that, you know, I have to, and I want to teach other people not to make that mistake."

Phelps was suspended from swimming for three months, dropped by Kelloggs and investigated by a South Carolina Sheriff's department after the photos surfaced.

As for the night he posed for the photo, Phelps says: "It was just a small group and we were just sitting around and celebrating. Nothing major. You know, not like a giant college house party. It was nothing like that. It was just a small group and we were just sitting around and celebrating, honestly."

"People think, you know, it's funny at times to take a photo with a cell phone. I'll say that there are a lot of people out there who want to take advantage of any situation they have. I trusted my friends who were there about who they were."

"And clearly I shouldn't have... Sometimes you learn the hard way."

March 13, 2009 |

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