Michael Phelps appeared to have landed himself in hot water over leaked photos from a Louis Vuitton ad campaign that the swimmer starred in, with some suggesting that Phelps could possibly be stripped of a few of his medals over the ordeal. Not so, says his agent.
On Friday, Phelps’ agent, Peter Carlisle, dismissed the suggestion that Phelps was in danger of losing medals in a statement to the Associated Press, saying that the swimmer, who now holds more medals than any other Olympian, did not violate any rules.
The rule in question in the Louis Vuitton campaign controversy is rule 40, a provision that prohibits Olympic athletes from promoting non-official sponsors. Louis Vuitton was not on that list. Had Phelps authorized the release of the photos, Carlisle he would have been in violation of the rule, but, as Carlisle points out, the photos were leaked, and so Phelps isn’t in the wrong and is in no danger of losing any medals.
“He didn’t violate Rule 40, it’s as simple as that,” Carlisle told the Associated Press in a telephone interview. “All that matters is whether the athlete permitted that use. That’s all he can control. In this case, Michael did not authorize that use. The images hadn’t even been reviewed, much less approved. It’s as simple as that. An athlete can’t control unauthorized uses any more than you can guarantee someone isn’t going to break into your house.”
The Associated Press reports:
“The ad campaign, which revolves around pictures taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, officially began on Thursday – the day after the IOC ban ended. Among the pictures: one that shows Phelps in a bathtub, wearing only goggles and a skimpy brief, another that depicts him sitting on a sofa, wearing a three-piece suit and chatting with former Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina, whose record for most overall medals he broke at the London Games.”
In case you missed it, you can see one of Phelps’ Louis Vuitton ads here.