19 Dec 2009

Phelps has sympathy for Woods

11:51 am on 19 December 2009

The American swim star Michael Phelps has expressed sympathy for Tiger Woods and his family because of the scrutiny they are under following the golfer's infidelities.

Phelps says he wishes Woods and his family well. He says he has no idea what he is going through - but it can't be easy.

He says he'd be the first to admit he's made a lot of mistakes both in and out of the pool.

Phelps, who won a record eight Olympic gold medals in Beijing, was photographed with his mouth to a marijuana pipe last year.

Phelps says he's never made the same mistake again and has become a much stronger person and has helped other people not make the same mistakes.

Phelps was in the running for the Athlete of the Decade award, but finished fourth behind Woods, Lance Armstrong and Roger Federer.

Woods, who is taking an indefinite leave from golf, has not spoken publicly since crashing his SUV outside his home three weeks ago. Since then, several women have said that they have had affairs with the world's number one golfer.

After the photograph of Phelps was published in a British tabloid, USA Swimming suspended him for three months. But he rebounded in July and won five golds and a silver at the world championships in Rome.

Phelps is in Manchester to lead an American team against the best swimmers from Britain, Italy and Germany.