Most decorated medalist in Olympic history, American hero, role model to kids all over the world, but now is the reputation of Michael Phelps ruined after a photo surfaced in the News of the World newspaper of him smoking out of a bong?
The photo was taken at the University of South Carolina in Columbia in November, just a few months after his victories in the Beijing Olympics. Phelps was visiting Jordan Matthews a student at the University who he was secretly seeing. An anonymous party-goer told the News of the World “He was out of control from the moment he got there".
In a statement released to the Associated Press Phelps said: "I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment. 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. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again."
This is not the first time Phelps upset the public and hurt his image. In 2004 just a few months after his performance in the Olympic games in Athens that earned him 6 gold and 2 bronze medals Phelps was charged for drunk driving at the age of 19. Phelps pleaded guilty and apologized for his actions.
Do Phelps' actions really hurt his image? After all, even President Clinton smoked a little pot in college.
Phelps started training again a couple of weeks ago for the upcoming championships in Rome, he is planning to make an appearance at his first post- Olympic event in Austin, Texas in early March.