Some photos of Olympic sensation Michael Phelps have risen online that could land the swimmer in hot water. The photos by Annie Leibovitz for Louis Vuitton were leaked on the Internet late last week, violating the International Olympic Committee's controversial Rule 40, which states athletes can't promote any non-Olympic sponsors from July 18 to August 15. Phelps could stand to lose his medals.
The ad campaign was set to go live August 16th in order to comply with those stringent rules, but someone must have jumped the gun because the photos appeared on a wide variety of websites starting on the second Tuesday of the Olympics.
Louis Vuitton denies releasing the photographs, as does Phelps' people.
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." That means Phelps could lose the medals he won in London.
However, the odds of that happening don't seem to be that high, unless the international olympics committee can prove that the photos were released early on purpose. Odds are they will let this slide and attribute the leak to a single rogue individual without consent from either party.
[Via Auburn Pub]