VIP Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps (b. June 30, 1985)

The top Olympian ever Michael Phelps admitted he found another use for water when an exclusive story in News of the World pictured him hitting a bong at University of South Carolina house party, weeks after the swimmer won 8 gold medals in Bejing.

NOTW's source said: "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."

Dale Gieringer of California NORML points out, "Michael Phelps does have severe ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), a common indication for medical cannabis. There are probably thousands of Californians receiving MMJ for ADHD. The utility of MMJ for ADHD has been documented by knowledgeable physicians such as Dr. Tom O'Connell and the late Dr. Claudia Jensen, and was the subject of the book "Jeffrey's Journey." Recent studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of smoking cannabis for ADHD.

It's widely reported that Phelps lost lucrative endorsement contracts after his "outing," but VISA, Mazda, Hilton Hotels, Omega watches, PureSport and Speedo stuck by the champ, as did Subway, with TV ads set to the Sly and the Family Stone funk anthem, "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)." Wrote Adweek, "Instead of pretending the [bong incident] never happened, Subway smartly (and subtly) turns it into a nonjudgmental message of individuality -- and it works."

The LA Times business page declared, "Michael Phelps ads prove a new cultural tolerance of marijuana" and stated Phelps's achievements "mock the moral hysteria that traditionally rains down on marijuana." Noting that Phelps kept most of his endorsements and in June inked a deal with H2O Audio, maker of high-end waterproof headphones, "advertisers saw little downside to being associated with bong-meister Phelps. Nor should they. Across the board, marijuana is being steadily decriminalized and de-stigmatized....With the benefit of hindsight, Kellogg execs might well be kicking themselves," for dropping Phelps, the article stated.

Phelps broke his own record in the 100-meter butterfly at the FINA World Championships in Rome in 2009. He now holds the most world records, 34, surpassing Mark Spitz. He won two more titles in August 2010, and now holds the record for individual titles with 49.

Read more about the Phelps story as it unfolded.

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