Michael Phelps could be in some serious trouble over his recent photo shoot with the French luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton. So serious he could even be stripped of medals which would take back the record he broke for most decorated Olympian.
Photos taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz of Phelps for the brand were leaked on the Internet late last week, which violates the International Olympic Committee’s controversial Rule 40, stating athletes can’t promote any non-Olympic sponsors from July 18 to Aug. 15.
In order to comply with the IOC’s campaign against ambush marketing, the campaign wasn’t set to begin until August 16, but someone got a hold of the photos and they were leaked on a wide variety of websites starting on the second Tuesday of the Olympics.
Louis Vuitton and Phelps both deny releasing the pictures.
Rule 40 states:
“a competitor or a team may lose the benefit of any ranking obtained in relation to other events at the Olympic Games at which he or it was disqualified or excluded; in such case the medals and diplomas won by him or it shall be returned to the IOC.”
It seems he’ll be ok considering the campaign start date was set and the pics had to have been leaked, but what a scare!
I didn’t say this, but:
One of the leaked ad photos was with former Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina, the woman whose record for most Olympic medals Phelps broke in London. If we were still in Cold War mode, it’d be a legitimate possibility that she leaked them as part of a wide-ranging conspiracy to get back her record…