The 23 year old Olympic gold medalist and Towson native Michael Phelps apologized for regrettable behavior after a photo of him smoking a marijuana pipe.

Britain's News of the World newspaper ran a picture of Phelps with a glass pipe. The picture was apparently taken at a party in November at the University of South Carolina. The newspaper did not say Phelps was smoking marijuana, but said the glass pipe the swimmer was photographed with was generally used to smoke the drug.

Phelps said in a statement. 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 U.S. Olympic Committee is very disappointed on what happen. We are disappointed in the behavior recently exhibited by Michael Phelps. Michael is a role model, and he is well aware of the responsibilities and accountability that come with setting a positive example for others, particularly young people, the U.S. Olympic Committee said in a statement.

This is the second time Phelps' reputation has suffered.

The athlete, who plans to compete in his first post-Olympic swim meet next month in Texas, was arrested in 2004 for driving under the influence (DUI) and was sentenced to 18 months probation, not long after he won six Olympic gold medals in Athens.