Michael Phelps near impossible and logic defying feat earned him not only megastar status but also the tagline as the best swimmer in the world.
Phelps Beijing Olympics gold medals haul surpassed Mark Spitz legendary 7 gold medals and 7 world records in the 1972 Olympics in Munich.
His total 14 gold medals from 2 Olympics, can never be broken again unless Patrick Duffy (The Man from Atlantis) or Darryl Hannah (The Mermaid) decides to compete in the 2012 London Olympics…
For his world record exploits, Phelps is supposed to be the icon, a role model for millions of youths all over the world.
Instead, a photo of him inhaling from the type of glass pipe used to smoke cannabis, surfaced from out of nowhere…….
Worse still, the picture was published exclusively in the News of the World.
I don’t know the price News of the World paid to the person who leaked that picture.
Well the price Phelps has to pay – a 3 month suspension from swimming competition by USA swimming as well as withdrawal of financial support, following the publication of this infamous picture apparently showing the Olympic champion using illegal drugs.
The USA swimming statement read:
"USA Swimming has reprimanded Michael Phelps under its Code of Conduct by withdrawing financial support and the eligibility to compete for a period of three months effective today, February 5, 2009.
"This is not a situation where any anti-doping rule was violated, but we decided to send a strong message to Michael because he disappointed so many people, particularly the hundreds of thousands of USA Swimming member kids who look up to him as a role model and a hero.
"Michael has voluntarily accepted this reprimand and has committed to earn back our trust."
Phelps's sponsor Kellogg has also said it would not renew their contract with the swimmer when it expires at the end of the month.
Phelps' suspension runs out in early May meaning he will be eligible for the World Championship trials in July if he decides to defend the seven titles he won in Melbourne in 2007.
Phelps’ Mr clean guy image may have been stained..
However Phelps has apologized..
Nevertheless some questions are lingering here :
If he smoke marijuana – how come he can swim so fast???????
Well, Phelps struck another blow to the myth that marijuana smokers are lazy couch potatoes.
Here is the guy who has won more gold medals than anyone in history, and obviously his health and accomplishments are not hindered by smoking some pot.
In addition to his swimming skills, he is a successful businessman who has turned his swimming skills into an enormous public relations platform and money generator.
Successful and honorable people who have smoked some pot are all around us, and does it include President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg???
Another question here Does it Hurt or Help His Image?
While some "experts" are predicting that Phelps bong hits could cost him millions, we could also see it as humanizing him and making him even more popular with a large section of the public.
With half of high school seniors having tried marijuana before they graduate, it is not clear that this photo is going to disillusion his fan base.