Sanctions?! Come on, the International Olympic Committee is just nuts enough to do it. (Go on, admit it -- you know they're nuts.) That's Michael Phelps soaking in a tub up there in what was first reported by Daily Mail as “Let the fashion endorsements begin, Michael Phelps announced as latest face of Louis Vuitton core values campaign.” The Daily Mail contained a quote from a Vuitton representative about the campaign according to Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.
And then? The DM piece disappeared.
A new IOC regulation, called Rule 40, prohibits athletes from appearing in ads for non-Olympic sponsors from July 18 to Aug. 15. According to the IOC’s 19 page explainer, Rule 40 is designed to prevent ambush marketing, defined as non-Olympic sponsors trying to associate themselves with the Olympic brand.Reps for the U.S. Olympic Committee, the International Olympic Committee, and the London Olympic Committee refused to comment.
Yet two photos of the Olympic swimmer, shot by the photographer Annie Leibovitz, began circulating during the time period in which athletes are prohibited from appearing in advertisements. A website in Barcelona called elperiodico.com printed the bathtub photo on Aug. 7 and announced that Phelps was the new face of Louis Vuitton.
An agent for Leibovitz confirmed to CNBC that she shot the photos, and that a Louis Vuitton campaign with Phelps was supposed to begin sometime this week.
Sanctions can range from removal of accreditation (not relevant once an athlete is finished competing), financial penalties, disqualification from the games, and according to the Olympic charter “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.”
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