Michael Phelps Could Lose His Olympic Medals for Louis Vuitton Photos

Arguably the greatest Olympic athlete of all time, and definitely the most decorated, Michael Phelps may actually lose all the medals he recently won in London thanks to a photo shoot he did for Louis Vuitton.

Last week, photos leaked on the internet of Phelps posing for the popular fashion company this week–putting his medals at risk due to the International Olympic Committee‘s Rule 40 that has been quite controversial over the years. The rule states that athletes are forbidden from promoting any non-Olympic sponsors from July 18 to August 15 and since the photos were leaked last week–that would obviously mean Phelps violated the agreement.

Rule 40 states “a competitor or a team may lose the benefit of any ranking obtained in relation to other events at the Olympic Games at which he or it was disqualified or exluded; in such case the medals and diplomas won by him or it shall be returned to the IOC.”

With the rule, Phelps would technically have to return the medals to the IOC. However, the chances of Phelps actually being stripped of his medals seem slim considering the photos for Louis Vuitton were “leaked” on the internet and not officially released by the company. The campaign was scheduled to begin to launch on August 16 and the company has denied any involvement with releasing the photos–so Phelps should be just fine.

After his last event in London, Phelps was honored with an award commemorating his standing as the most decorated Olympian ever. That record wouldn’t stand if he was stripped of his 4 golds and 2 silver medals.