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Mayor criticized after gift of whisky to Michael Phelps, who's dealt with alcohol abuse

Olympian Michael Phelps journey started in Baltimore and now has covered five Olympics, winning 28 Olympic medals and 23 gold medals. He is considered one of the greatest athletes of all time. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)

The guest of honor at a gala in Windsor, Ontario, Michael Phelps was recognized Sunday by FINA as the top male swimmer in 2016.

He also was given a special gold-colored bottle with a customized message: "Presented by Mayor Drew Dilkens To Michael Phelps." The labeling on the bottle was otherwise familiar: Canadian Club. Premium Canadian whisky. Exactly the kind of thing someone twice arrested for drunken driving would want as a gift.

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"He's also known to gamble and we had him stay at the casino," Dilkens told the Windsor Star. "FINA set him up at the casino. Where do you stop? He's not said he's an alcoholic. In fact, the last piece we looked at on Google, he was asked if he's an alcoholic and he said, 'I don't know.' He doesn't classify himself as being an alcoholic. If he did classify himself as an alcoholic, I would have made a different choice."

Dilkens said Phelps told him he would display the bottle "with his gold medals," according to the Star. He called the gift a throwback to the days of Hiram Walker, the founder of the company that produces the whisky, who would give a gold bottle to an employee upon their retirement. Michael Phelps retired from competitive swimming after the Rio Olympics this summer.

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Then again, probably not every employee underwent 45 days of inpatient treatment, joined Alcoholics Anonymous and at one point felt as if they "didn't want to see another day" during their battle with alcohol abuse.

Phelps told ESPN before the Olympics this summer that he hadn't had a drink since Oct. 5, 2014, his last day in Baltimore before leaving for treatment. In 2015, he pledged not to drink until after Rio.

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