Michael Phelps Photographed With Bong

British tabloid News Of The World has published a photo of Olympian Michael Phelps smoking from a bong and claims that Phelps’ handlers offered them “extraordinary incentives” not to run the story.

THIS is the astonishing picture which could destroy the career of the greatest competitor in Olympic history. In our exclusive photo Michael Phelps, who won a record EIGHT gold medals for swimming at the Beijing games last summer, draws from a bong. The glass pipes are generally used to smoke cannabis. And after sporting chiefs announced laws which mean four-year bans for drug-taking, Phelps’ dreams of adding to his overall 14 gold medal tally at the 2012 games in London could already be OVER.

Those dreams seemed the last thing on his mind when he puffed from the bong during two days of partying with students last November, a quiet time in the swimming calendar when athletes would not expect to get tested for drugs. One party-goer who witnessed the star’s behaviour told the News of the World: “He was out of control from the moment he got there. If he continues to party like that I’d be amazed if he ever won any more medals again.” Phelps’ aides went into a panic over our story and offered us a raft of extraordinary incentives not to run the bong picture.

ZOMG! A world famous millionaire athlete likes to get high!1!! Exactly like most guys his age! But it will be very interesting to see how his endorsements go after this. I could see this story getting a shrug from advertisers overseas, but here in the puritanical USA, we cannot allow our heroes even the slightest vice.

As for this story’s implications regarding Olympic drug rules, for now the US Olympic Committee has declined to comment as has the World Anti-Doping Agency. Reefer sure isn’t performance-enhancing. In any case, maybe now we know why Phelps consumes 12,000 calories a day. Munchies.

UPDATE: Phelps acknowledges the photo and apologizes: “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.”