Michael Phelps Considering Dropping Out Of 2012 Olympics

In his first interview since his bong-using photo scandal, Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, 23, says that he’s going to do “a lot of thinking” about possibly not competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

“This is a decision of mine that I’m not going to make today and I’m not going to make tomorrow,” Phelps stated. “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.”

Olympic swimmer Phelps spoke with the Baltimore Sun at Meadowbrook Aquatic Center after a workout, and admitted that he “clearly made a mistake” by being photographed using a bong at a party at the University of South Carolina in November.

British tabloid News of the World ran the photo this past weekend, which resulted in scads of controversy over Phelps and his use of drug paraphernalia.

Phelps, who was convicted of a DUI in 2004, said that the hardest part of the situation was telling his mother, Debbie.

“Seeing my mom reminded me of how it was the day after I got my DUI, and I swore to myself I’d never do that again,” he said. “This is just a stupid thing of mine that I did, and I have to live with it.”

The merman, who has received support from the athletic and celebrity communities, says that he still has goals in his sport that he wishes to accomplish but might not get to.

“Yeah, there are still goals that I have in the pool, 100 percent. 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.”