Olympic Committee, Sponsors Stand By Michael Phelps

One day after a photo of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps apparently holding a bong to his mouth was published by the News of the World, the International Olympic Committee has chimed in on the matter.

ESPN reports that the IOC said today it was sure Phelps, 23, would learn from the “inappropriate behavior” detailed by both the News’ photo and article, and that the Olympian would continue to maintain his role model status.

As well, Phelps’ big-money sponsor Omega deemed the incident a “nonissue,” while Speedo, who also has a deal with the athlete, noted, he remains a “valued member of the Speedo team.”

Britain’s News of the World unleashed a media firestorm after running its story detailing a party-filled weekend Michael Phelps took part in last November in South Carolina.

The Baltimore-born swimmer issued a statement soon after, which was printed by the New York Times.

“I’m 23 years old and despite the successes I’ve had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me,” he said. “For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again.”

Current World Anti-Doping Agency rules state an athlete is subject to sanctions only for a positive test during competition periods.

ESPN also notes that Speedo, which has been involved with Phelps since 2001, issued their own press release: “In light of Michael Phelps’ statement yesterday, Speedo would like to make it clear that it does not condone such behavior and we know that Michael truly regrets his actions.”

The sportswear company added, “Michael Phelps is a valued member of the Speedo team and a great champion. We will do all that we can to support him and his family.”

For now, it seems Phelps has managed to avoid taking a dive with his endorsers. What do you think on the matter?