Related News

Home » Sports » Swimming

Phelps draws a pass from IOC after pot photo

THE International Olympic Committee expressed confidence yesterday that Michael Phelps will learn from his "inappropriate behavior" and continue to serve as a role model after a British newspaper published a photo of him inhaling from a marijuana pipe.

And two of Phelps' leading sponsors expressed their continued support for the swimmer. Swimwear manufacturer Speedo, which gave Phelps a US$1 million bonus for his record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, offered backing to the 23-year-old American. Luxury Swiss watch maker Omega said it considered Phelps' actions a private matter and a "non-issue."

Phelps apologized for his behavior after the picture was published on Sunday by the tabloid News of the World.

"Michael Phelps is a great Olympic champion," the IOC said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press yesterday.

"He apologized for his inappropriate behavior. We have no reason to doubt his sincerity and his commitment to continue to act as a role model."

During the Beijing Olympics, IOC President Jacques Rogge called Phelps "the icon of the Games."

Marijuana is viewed differently from performance-enhancing drugs under World Anti-Doping Agency rules.

An athlete is subject to WADA sanctions only for a positive test that occurs during competition periods.

The News of the World said the picture was taken during a November house party while Phelps was visiting the University of South Carolina.

The party occurred nearly three months after the Olympics while Phelps was taking a long break from training, and his actions should have no impact on the eight golds he won in Beijing. He has never tested positive for banned substances, and the case is unlikely to fall under any doping rules.

Phelps acknowledged "regrettable" behavior and "bad judgment" in the incident.

"I'm 23 years old and despite the successes I've had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me," Phelps said in the statement released by one of his agents.

"For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again."

Phelps was in Tampa, Florida, during Super Bowl week to make promotional appearances on behalf of a sponsor. But he left the city before Sunday's game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals, abandoning his original plan to be at Raymond James Stadium.

This isn't the first embarrassing episode for Phelps after an Olympic triumph.

In 2004, a few months after winning six gold and two bronze medals in Athens, the swimmer was arrested on a drunken driving charge at age 19.

He pleaded guilty and apologized for the mistake.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend