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Yes, Phelps does have a girlfriend

August 21, 2008|Kevin Van Valkenburg; Randy Harvey

BEIJING -- Fame is a strange beast, my friend. The world of gossip journalism is freaking out right now, trying to figure out whether Michael Phelps has a girlfriend. He is, in some ways, the David Beckham of the sporting world at the moment. The British tabloids are saying that he's dating model Lily Donaldson or swimmer Amanda Beard, and has sent us a slew of e-mails, trying to confirm a rumor it heard that it's another swimmer. (Dear TMZ: Seriously, you could not be further off the mark.)

The suggestion that it's Amanda Beard is probably the most ridiculous rumor. Phelps and Beard both shot it down in interviews the last few days. Beard has a boyfriend, and it's not Phelps. I'd wager Phelps has never even met Donaldson. He just laughs when people make things up about him.

Let me say this: There is a girl, and she's been a part of Phelps' life for a while. She's not famous. I've seen them together at events, and she's striking. We've even got a picture of them together. (How do you like that, gossip sites?) But you know what? Some things in a guy's life deserve to be kept private.

-- Kevin Van Valkenburg

Buying votes

Consistent with one of the grandest traditions in American politics, the U.S. Olympic Committee has been reprimanded for buying votes.

According to the Around the Rings website, the USOC was giving $50 vouchers to U.S. athletes if they would vote in the election for representatives to the International Olympic Committee's Athletes' Commission.

USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel denied intentional wrongdoing. He said all U.S. athletes had been guaranteed $50 vouchers for the Olympic village gift store upon checkout. He said the athletes had been told they would be given the vouchers if they voted in the election.

The U.S. has one athlete on the panel, former volleyball player Bob Ctvrtlik. But his term is expiring, and the U.S. is not guaranteed a seat. The USOC has nominated former soccer player Julie Foudy.

-- Randy Harvey

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