If the International Olympic Committee is out for blood, Michael Phelps could be a sitting duck.
We've already seen Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake come under the gun for wearing a $500,000 watch that wasn't sponsored by Omega during a race, which is a big no-no according to the IOC's rules and regulations. Now, Phelps is the one who could be in some hot water after photos of him posing for a Louis Vuitton ad campaign were leaked during the Olympics.
Phelps' photos break a new IOC regulation called Rule 40, which prohibits athletes from appearing in ads for non-Olympic sponsors during the Games (July 18-Aug. 15). Louis Vuitton, for the record, was not an Olympic sponsor, thus potentially opening Phelps up to punishment. If the IOC determines that Phelps violated the rule, the sanctions could include fines and the stripping of medals, according to CNBC.com.
The actual Louis Vuitton campaign was reportedly slated to begin this week, when athletes were once again allowed to appear in ads for non-Olympics sponsors. But because the photos were leaked early, there's now speculation and debate as to whether the IOC will still clamp down on Phelps. Those involved with the situation deny leaking the photos, which could rid them of any blame and thus any punishment, but we'll have to wait and see whether that matters to the IOC.
Phelps could spare a medal or two, though, so we probably shouldn't be too concerned. And on the bright side, at least he's not Ryan Lochte, so he's got that going for him, too.
It is, though, the latest development in an already busy life post-London for Phelps. His reported poker habits have been documented already as well.
Check out the photos that have Phelps in the crosshairs below.
Photo via Twitter/@elegiovio
Photo via Twitter/@pw_agency