Michael Phelps broke the record for most decorated Olympian of all time at the London games, but all of his hard work could be destroyed by a Louis Vuitton ad. The photos, shot by famed photographer Annie Lebowitz, show Phelps sitting in a bathtub with an open Louis Vuitton duffel bag sitting nearby, violate the International Olympic Committee’s Rule 40.
Athletes promoting non-Olympic sponsors from July 18 to Aug. 15 violate the rule, which 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 excluded; in such case the medals and diplomas won by him or it shall be returned to the IOC." Since the photos were leaked late last week they put Phelps in jeopardy of losing his medals.
The campaign was supposed to be released on Aug. 16th to comply with the rule, but the leak, which both Lebowitz and Phelps deny, falls under the rule. Since both camps deny any wrongdoing with the photo it's likely that Phelps won't be punished.