Michael Phelps could be in deep doo doo with the International Olympic Committee after a few racy photos of the swimmer surfaced recently.
One leaked pic features Phelps sitting in a tub filled with water in his speedos (tame considering some of the butt models we see everyday), but the photos, reportedly part of a Louis Vuitton campaign shot by Amy Liebovitz, could possibly jeopardize the medals Phelps won in the 2012 Olympic games in London!
Details + more photos below…
But here’s the issue… LV is NOT an Official Olympic sponsor and according to IOC regulations, Olympic athletes were prohibited from supporting non-olympic sponsors during the games.
A new IOC regulation, called Rule 40, prohibits athletes from appearing in ads for non-Olympic sponsors from July 18 to Aug. 15. According to the IOC’s 19 page explainer, Rule 40 is designed to prevent ambush marketing, defined as non-Olympic sponsors trying to associate themselves with the Olympic brand.
Phelps is also featured in one ad with former Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina, the woman whose record for most Olympic medals Phelps broke in London.
The campaign was originally scheduled to to begin on Aug. 16th in order to comply with the IOC’s campaign against ambush marketing, but apparently someone jumped the gun and leaked the photos, which appeared on a slew of websites starting on the second Tuesday of the Olympics.
Louis Vuitton denies releasing the photographs, as does Phelps’ camp but according to several news sources, Phelps participation in the campaign violates Rule 40, which clearly 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.”
In other words, Phelps could theoretically be stripped of his medals from London. (source) Whether it will actually happen is debatable though.
On a related note… get into this photo of three-time world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali and his grandson photographed for Louis Vuitton’s “Core Values” campaign. It was shot in his Arizona home by Annie Leibovitz and has been running internationally since June 15th.
“Muhammad Ali is the epitome of an outstanding personality – a true living legend in boxing and far beyond,” explained Louis Vuitton ceo and chairman Yves Carcelle.
“We are honoured that he agreed to be photographed for the Core Values campaign, and delighted with the way this beautiful portrait of the champion and his grandson captures the idea of transmission, which is of great significance to Louis Vuitton.”