Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, by his own admission, has never been particularly graceful when walking on dry land. In the water, there is no one faster or sleeker. But on solid ground, he's a self-described klutz.
That clumsiness seems to have caught up with him. Yesterday, during a promotional event in Southern California, Phelps confirmed that he broke a small bone in his right wrist two weeks ago while trying to enter a car in Ann Arbor, Mich., where he is training for the Beijing Olympics.
"I'm a fish out of water. I'm a clumsy person," Phelps told the Associated Press. "I fell and went to catch myself and I just tweaked it the wrong way."
He said the injury isn't serious and shouldn't affect his preparation for the 2008 Olympics. He continued to do dry-land training after the injury, but after he experienced some swelling, doctors ordered a magnetic resonance imaging and found a small crack. They decided to insert a small pin in his wrist to accelerate healing.
"It's fine. Everything's going as we planned," said Phelps, who is from Rodgers Forge. "We were taking it very, very cautiously and just trying to get it to heal as fast as we could so we could get back to swimming."
Bob Bowman, Phelps' coach since his days of training at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, told the Detroit Free Press he was "not worried" and that the break "could have healed on its own."
Phelps was in Southern California to promote the Swim to Beijing Relay, which benefits swimming education programs across the country. The 6,250-lap relay represents the distance between Los Angeles and Beijing.
Phelps, who won seven gold medals and set four individual world records this year at the FINA world championships in Melbourne, Australia, has less than a year of training left for the Olympics. His quest to break Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals in one Olympics in 1972 will likely be a focal point during the Games, just as it was in Athens when he won six golds and two bronzes.
"Under 300 days. It's going to be here before we know it," he said. "It's a crucial time for me to get back at it and I know if I don't, nothing is possible. My goals are still the same."
The Associated Press contributed to this article.