New York - US swimming legend Michael Phelps has spoken of
his frustration at the possibility rivals were using drugs at last year's Rio
de Janeiro Olympics.
Phelps, in written testimony released ahead of his
appearance on Tuesday at a US congressional hearing into drug use in sport,
said he and teammates were left wondering whether they were competing on a
level playing field in Rio.
It followed a build-up to the Games dogged by drugs scandals
and revelations of a state-backed Russian doping program across multiple
"Rio was also unique because of increased doping
concerns," Phelps wrote in his statement.
"In the year leading up to the Games there was
uncertainty and suspicion. I along with a number of other athletes signed a
petition requesting that all athletes be tested in the months prior to the
"Unfortunately, the uncertainty remained even through
the Games and I watched how this affected my teammates and fellow competitors.
We all felt the frustration, which undermines so much of the belief and
confidence we work so hard to build up to prepare for the Olympics."
Phelps, 31, retired from swimming after Rio, his fifth
Olympics, adding five more gold medals to boost his all-time tally to 23.
The American superstar said the suspicion that some rivals
throughout his career were cheating had consistently rankled him.
"Throughout my career I have suspected that some
athletes were cheating and in some cases those suspicions were confirmed,"
"Given all the testing I and so many others have been
through I have a hard time understanding this... I can't adequately describe
how frustrating it is to see another athlete breakthrough performance barriers
in unrealistic timeframes, knowing what I had to go through to do it."