Forget Gambling, Fashion Will Be The Demise Of Michael Phelps

While I was blithering on like some handsome buffoon yesterday about the Turtle of Michael Phelps’ entourage complaining that the celebrated swimmer was spending all of his money on poker and not shoes for his friends, I was missing out on a huge scandal. Apparently some nogoodnik released two photos from Phelps’ upcoming Louis Vuitton campaign, and that’s a huge offense to the International Olympic Committee.

How serious is it? Phelps could actually lose some medals if it’s determined that he knew about this leak.

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. (Via CNBC)

The above image was leaked by a website in Barcelona on August 7, which is obviously much earlier than the IOC sponsorship rule allows. From there, a bevy of other websites ran the bathtub pic and another (after the jump), including the perennial Pulitzer contenders at The Daily Mail, which, according to CNBC, even managed to spell the entire title of the article correctly.

So who the hell released these photos? Will Phelps actually lose any medals? Who wears a bathing suit in the bathtub? Trust me, those questions are the least of Phelps’ worries.

CNBC reports that both Louis Vuitton reps and those of photographer Annie Leibovitz claim that neither side leaked the photos. That would mean that someone close to Phelps had to have done the damage, right? RIGHT??? Probably not. The Daily Mail may have actually proved that Louis Vuitton was the source of the leak, because the original article has a quote from a company rep about the campaign. However, it mysteriously and journalistically disappeared.

And then the source article goes on to discuss all sorts of outrage from Olympic athletes at the IOC’s stupid rule, because it prevented many of them from thanking their sponsors or something. It doesn’t really matter, because the folks at Celebrity Fix – MSN’s investigative journalism wing – have asked the most important question of all…