Young American hero caught behaving like, er, young American

He’s a 23-year-old male crashing a campus house party. What are the odds?

Best comment from the Headlines thread comes from JWF, who notes that with Phelps’s massive lung capacity, this could be the most monster bong hit of all time. Did he bogart the whole bowl in one toke?

It was on November 6, weeks after his Beijing triumph, that 23-year-old Phelps surprised students at the University Of South Carolina in Columbia by showing up unannounced at a house party…

The US Olympics Committee, who have pledged to clamp down on drug use, refused to comment, as did USA Swimming and Phelps’ coach Bob Bowman.

More surprising still was the World Anti-Doping Agency’s refusal to comment, given that they introduced the four-year ban on sport’s drug users…

Spokesman Clifford Bloxham offered us an extraordinary deal not to publish our story, saying Phelps would become our columnist for three years, host events and get his sponsors to advertise with us.

In return, he asked that we kill Phelps’ bong picture. Bloxham said: “It’s seeing if something potentially very negative for Michael could turn into something very positive for the News of the World.”

People are arguing that it’s not really him in the photo, but would the News of the World drop that detail about his spokesman in there if it wasn’t true? Remember, libel laws in the UK are much looser than they are here. Exit question: Given the fact the IOC’s never had a big problem with cheating and that Phelps’s absence from the 2012 Games would mean tens of millions of dollars in lost ad revenue, what are the odds that they’ll revisit the rules about a four-year ban for dope before then?