Both Rafael Nadal and Michael Phelps took big steps in revealing a little more of themselves this past week.
Rafa – on the comeback trail again as he prepares for the Australian Open – was named spokesmodel for Tommy Hilfiger. If his underwear ads turn out to be half as sensuous as his videos for Armani – stripped down to ripped jeans under a waterfall – well, then, all I can say is “Rrrrrrrrrrr.”
Michael, who knows a thing or two about stripping down, found himself in an emotionally vulnerable moment, pleading guilty to drunk driving. He was given the maximum sentence of one year in prison, which was suspended in favor of a supervised probation that includes random drug and alcohol testing and mandatory attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
With his mother, Debbie, and friend former Baltimore Ravens’ star Ray Lewis on hand for support, Michael indicated that he gets it, tweeting the following:
"The past three months of my life have been some of the hardest times I've ever gone through, and the biggest learning experience that I have ever had. As I hoped, I learned a lot about myself during my time away and now have the tools to continue to learn and grow from all of this. What I did was wrong, and I will share my experience with others and hope that I can help make a difference. I know I still have work to do, but I have great support around me and look forward to a brighter future. I am back in the pool training and have set new goals for myself in and out of swimming for 2015 and beyond."
The proof will be in how Michael conducts himself, not only as he prepares for the Rio Olympics in 2016 but away from the pool, when he’s often been a fish out of water.