Phelps gains endorsement deal

Updated: June 17, 2009, 2:54 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

When a photo of Michael Phelps using a marijuana pipe surfaced late last year, some sponsors cut ties with the Olympic swimming champion. Months later, that trend has turned around.

Phelps and H2O Audio announced a multiyear partnership on Wednesday, in which Phelps will endorse the company's line of waterproof headphones and accessories. The company will feature Phelps in a summer ad campaign, founder and chief executive Kristian Rauhala said, according to USA Today.

Other athletes who have endorsements with H2O Audio are Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin and surfer Laird Hamilton.

Phelps, who listened to headphones before races during his record-setting run at the Beijing Games, said he uses the company's in-ear, waterproof Surge headphones during training, according to the report. The headphones are integrated with a carrying case for his iPod, which he attaches to his swim cap with a magnetic strip.

"The [music] helps me put myself in my own world," Phelps said, according to USA Today. I can focus on what I'm doing. And tune out what everybody else is doing -- no matter what."

Phelps became a cultural icon after winning a record-breaking eight gold medals in the pool at Beijing. But his career ran into an unplanned hurdle when the infamous photo was published by a British tabloid in early February. While no criminal charges were filed, USA Swimming gave Phelps a three-month suspension from competition.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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