Last November, Michael Phelps visited his girlfriend, Jordan Matthews at the University of South Carolina in Columbia for a party.
At the party he surprised everyone by drinking beer heavily and being loud. During one of those instances a student offered him to smoke Cannabis, Phelps quickly accepted according to one of the party guests. Phelps was then pictured with a bong. The article
has a picture, doesn’t look photoshopped and it appears real.
The party guests claim it didn’t seem to them that Phelps was trying pot for the first time. One guest told News of the World
You could tell Michael had smoked before. He grabbed the bong and a lighter and knew exactly what to do...He looked just as natural with a bong in his hands as he does swimming in the pool. He was the gold medal winner of bong hits. Michael ended up getting a little paranoid, though, because before too long he looked like he was nervous and ran out of the place.
Phelps is on a break now after the record haul of eight gold medals in Beijing Olympics but will soon start training for the next Olympics.
After Phelps and his aides came to know about the story that will be published by News of the World, they contacted them not to post the article and tried to give them incentives, which the newspaper refused. News of the World is owned by Murdoch’s News Corp.
The US Olympics Committee refused to comment on this incident and so did Phelp’s coach Bob Bowman. Also, the World Anti-Doping Agency refused to comment, but they have issued in the past four-year bans on drug users in sports.
According to News of the World, Phelps marketing spokesman Clifford Bloxham from Octagon offered them a great deal not to publish their story. Bloxham promised Phelps would be their columnist for three years, host events and also get his sponsors to advertise in their papers.
Bloxham told News of the World:
It’s seeing if something potentially very negative for Michael could turn into something very positive for the News of the World.
He also told them that they have taken more than 1,500 tests in the past without any false negatives.
This incident may be harmless to some but according to the Olympic rules marijuana might be considered performance-enhancing and may ban the user. But they World Anti-Doping Agency needs more evidence than just a picture to issue a ban.