Michael Phelps and a bong

Goofy looking US Olympic hero Michael Phelps was caught smoking a bong. Sources told News of the World it happened at a party he crashed while visiting his girlfriend Jordan Matthews at the University of South Carolina in Columbia last November. It’s said that this was only one of many nights of debauchery.

“He arrived with a group of girls hanging all over him. Jaws hit the floor when he walked in. You don’t get many celebrities in Columbia, so when Phelps comes to your party it’s a very big deal.

“He didn’t know many people so you’d think he’d be a little shy. But he was loud, obnoxious and slamming beers from the get-go.

“Every girl wanted a piece of him and every guy wanted to be his best buddy. He couldn’t get enough of all the attention.”

As he basked in his hero status, Phelps knocked back beers and shots of spirits. And when a student offered him the glass bong engraved with red writing, he did not hesitate, says our source.

The 6ft 4ins athlete, in a white T-shirt and navy cap worn back to front, clasped the device in his huge hands and inhaled deeply.

Our source said: “You could tell Michael had smoked before. He grabbed the bong and a lighter and knew exactly what to do.

“He looked just as natural with a bong in his hands as he does swimming in the pool. He was the gold medal winner of bong hits. Michael ended up getting a little paranoid, though, because before too long he looked like he was nervous and ran out of the place.”

Phelps has since apologized. On Sunday, he issued a statement admitting he “engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgement.”

Phelps then hit up Facebook and wrote: “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 from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public — it will not happen again.” Meaning, he’s not going to be stupid enough to get caught next time.

The Swimming-IOC has forgiven Phelps and said that Phelps’ quickness in issuing the apology was proof of his sincerity.

“Michael Phelps is a great Olympic champion. He apologised for his inappropriate behaviour,” IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau said on Monday.

“We have no reason to doubt his sincerity and his commitment to continue to act as a role model.”

When asked about this incident on Monday, Phelps replied, “I issued an apology?! Dude, I must have been so high.”