By Ryan Mayer, CBS Local Sports

Michael Phelps is attempting to return to the Olympic stage for what will be his 4th Olympics in Rio in 2016, and will do something he has never done before in the lead up to the Games. He won’t have a drink.  Phelps told the Associated Press’ Paul Newberry yesterday:

“Before I even went to court, I said to myself that I’m not going to drink until after Rio — if I ever drink again. That was a decision I made for myself. I’m being honest with myself. Going into 2008 and 2012, I didn’t do that. I didn’t say I was going to take a year off from drinking and not have a drink.”

Phelps has had problems with alcohol in the past and was suspended by USA Swimming for six months after being arrested for DUI last fall for the second time.   Phelps started attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings after the incident.  He’s not allowed by USA Swimming to participate in this year’s World Championships despite his suspension being over. Regardless, Phelps seems to have learned a lesson about taking care of his body as he gets older.

“If I’m going to come back, I need to do this the right way,. I’ve got to put my body in the best physical shape I can possibly get it in. Is it a challenge? No. I go to bed earlier. I sleep more. I wake up every day and have a completely clear head. I don’t feel like my head went through a brick wall. There are so many positives to it.”

Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time having won 22 medals.  He’ll look to add to that total in Rio in 2016.

Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him. Agree/Disagree? Thoughts, comments, complaints? Email or tweet him.