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Fans of Phelps in China get an apology

OLYMPIC champion Michael Phelps has apologized to Chinese fans for what he called his "regrettable behavior" after he was photographed with a marijuana pipe.

Phelps spoke via the Internet on a video that appeared widely yesterday on Chinese-language Websites. The Chinese-language newspaper Southern Metropolis Daily said the Websites had received the statement from automaker Mazda, which is reported to be paying Phelps more than US$1 million to endorse the car brand in China.

"As many of you know, I recently engaged in behavior which was regrettable and not what people have come to expect from me," Phelps said, with his apology subtitled in Chinese. "The past few days have been tough for me, but I've received support and encouragement online from so many Chinese friends."

Last month Phelps was back in Beijing ?? where he won a record-breaking eight gold medals ?? to do commercials and endorsements for automaker Mazda.

Chinese papers have followed the Phelps controversy closely, dubbing it "marijuana gate."


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