Olympic champ Michael Phelps admits smoking pot!

Michaelphelps Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals in the 2008 Summer Games, has publicly acknowledged that the photo in "News of the World," purportedly showing him smoking marijuana from a bong, is in fact the real deal.

His statement says:

"I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment. 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. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again."

The British tabloid obtained a photo of Phelps smoking a bong, a water pipe usually used for smoking weed. View the pix here. Check out their amusing headline: What a DOPE!

The photo was allegedly taken at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where Phelps was reportedly visiting a girlfriend.

Wait, what happened to the Vegas cocktail cutie he took home to meet the parental units?

Will this hurt Phelps' endorsement career?

Is he just blowing off steam?

Or does he need to start watching his step?

Mom, Dad, you need to have a talk with Mikey.

Related posts:

Michael Phelps brings home Vegas girlfriend to meet the 'rents.

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Michael Phelps plays Dr. McSwimmy!

Photos: Mikey hawks his book, "No Limits: The Will to Succeed." Step #1: Put down the bong!

Credit: WireImage

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