Swimming : Phelps unsure he has ever raced in clean sport

Wed Aug 3, 2016 6:16pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Michael Phelps, the most medaled Olympian of all time, questioned on Wednesday whether he had ever swum in a 'clean' sport as he prepared for a Rio Games overshadowed by the Russian doping scandal.

"We all want clean sports," the American told a news conference. "We want everybody to be on the same playing field.

"I think I can honestly say as well in my career I don't know if I've ever competed in a clean sport," added the 31-year-old, winner of 18 career Olympic golds and 22 medals. "And it's upsetting."

Phelps, who will carry the flag for the United States at Friday's opening ceremony, said there was not much he could control other than his own actions and that would be his priority.

However, his long-standing coach Bob Bowman was scathing about the situation.

"Clearly from a team perspective we are just focused on getting the best performances that we can, regardless of the circumstances," he said, sitting alongside Phelps.

"But I would have to say from a personal standpoint, it's very concerning to me that our governing bodies have dropped the ball in many ways on this. The system is broken and it has to be fixed."

Dozens of Russian athletes have been banned from the Olympics, including essentially the entire track-and-field team, after revelations through whistleblowers of a systematic, state-backed doping program in the country.   Continued...

Aug 2, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL; U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps crosses over the lane ropes during a practice session at the Olympic Aquatics Centre prior to the start of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports