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Will Michael Phelps Be Stripped Of His London Olympic Medals?

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Gold medallist Michael Phelps of the United States kisses his medal following the medal ceremony for the Men's 4x100m medley Relay Final on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on August 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello, Getty Images

Will the most successful Olympic athlete of all-time be stripped of his London medals due to a few pictures?

His agent says ‘No’.

Michael Phelps has found himself in a pool of controversy over some leaked photos for apparently posing in a tub for a Louis Vuitton ad campaign.

The problem? The Olympic Committee has restrictions on what products athletes can endorse or promote during and around the game.

This Boston Herald article outlines some the provisions of Rule 40, which also states an athlete can be stripped of medals, among other penalties, for violating the rule.

However, the article says Phelps’ agent, Peter Carlisle, told the Associated Press the photos were used without the Olympic champions permission:

“He didn’t violate Rule 40, it’s as simple as that,” Carlisle said in a telephone interview. “All that matters is whether the athlete permitted that use. That’s all he can control. In this case, Michael did not authorize that use. The images hadn’t even been reviewed, much less approved. It’s as simple as that. An athlete can’t control unauthorized uses any more than you can guarantee someone isn’t going to break into your house.”

If this is the case, Phelps would appear to the be in the clear. But, if he, even unknowingly, took part in this campaign while still under International Olympic Committee restrictions this could be a mistake of catastrophic proportions.

If the London medals are taken away, Phelps would see his reign as the most accomplished Olympian literally sink to the bottom of the Olympic pool that brought him so much prestige.

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