The scam that is the Olympics has found a new victim: the greatest Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps. The 22-time Olympic medalist and 18-time gold medalist is now under fire because Louis Vuitton, one of his advertisers, released a photo shoot with Phelps a few weeks prior to the Olympics. The pictures, which feature Phelps in just a Speedo and goggles in a bathtub, were shown on television.
Here’s the problem: Rule 40 of the Olympic guidelines requires that athletes cannot appear “in advertising during and shortly before the Olympic games.” The goal is to give a broad monopoly to advertisers sponsoring the Olympics themselves; those advertisers shell out nine figures to make that happen. The athletes, meanwhile, are expected to hold off on advertising opportunities.
That’s nonsense. These athletes spend most of their lives training for the point where they can compete in the world’s most heralded sporting event. The notion that they could lose everything they have worked for simply by posing a few weeks early for a photo shoot is ludicrous. Then again, from an Olympic committee that seems more concerned about raking in dough than honoring slain Israeli athletes, it’s no shock that they seem to care more about their bottom line than taking care of those who make that bottom line possible.