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Michael Phelps landed in some very hot water earlier this week after controversial photos of the Olympic phenom smoking a marijuana pipe ended up on the front pages of a British tabloid.

The champion of the Beijing Olympic Summer Games, with 8 gold medals, has acknowledged that the shot is the real deal. He released a statement on Sunday saying, “I’m 23 years old, and despite the successes I have had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner that people have come to expect of me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public – it won’t happen again.” Check it out on his Facebook page here.

The US Olympic Committee, in their own statement, expressed disappointment but seemed to cut Phelps some slack. “Michael has acknowledged that he made a mistake and apologized for his actions. We are confident that, going forward, Michael will consistently set the type of example we all expect from a great Olympic champion.”

There has been no word yet on whether any of his endorsement contracts will be terminated by disgruntled corporations.

Check out the photo that caused the firestorm in a CNN video below.

See pics of his girlfriend Caroline ‘Caz’ Pal here.