Les Carpenter in Washington

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Michael Phelps wants to talk doping reform now. Will anybody listen?

The older, wiser Olympic champion is finally addressing the doping epidemic that he’d always avoided, but will it be enough to prompt real change?

Michael Phelps sat before a congressional panel on Tuesday, no longer a silent superstar whistling past the Olympics doping problem. For years, the most-decorated Olympian ever seemed content to pretend the controversy swirling in sports was not his problem. Best to duck his head, mumble nothings and dive into the pool.

But the older, wiser Phelps who found his voice in Rio has kept talking into retirement. The sticky subject he always avoided is no longer taboo. He seems to want to be swimming’s elder statesman at 31 and being an elder statesman means taking stands. He is also a first-time father, with a son born last year, and for that reason too he found himself sitting before a house energy and commerce subcommittee demanding real reform in the anti-doping world.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/mar/01/michael-phelps-doping-congress-hearing-russia