Louis Vuitton Campaign
I highly doubt either Michael or Louis Vuitton released these photos pre-maturely. That would be extremely stupid.Photos of Phelps taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz were leaked on the Internet late last week, violating the International Olympic Committee's controversial Rule 40, which states athletes can't promote any non-Olympic sponsors from July 18 to Aug. 15.
Punishments for the rule range from fines to a stripping of medals.
The campaign was set to begin on Aug. 16 in order to comply with the IOC's campaign against ambush marketing. Someone jumped the gun and the photos appeared on a wide variety of websites starting on the second Tuesday of the Olympics.
Louis Vuitton denies releasing the photographs, as does Phelps' camp.
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 excluded; in such case the medals and diplomas won by him or it shall be returned to the IOC." In other words, Phelps could theoretically be stripped of his medals from London.
Someone else released them, he should not be punished for this.