Michael Phelps skips IBM speaking engagement

Bong smoking incident may be the cause for swimming champ's no-show.

Michael Phelps reportedly skipped a scheduled speaking appearance at the IBM Pulse conference in Las Vegas Tuesday.

Phelps, the 23-year-old swimmer who won eight Olympic gold medals at last years Olympic Games, is embroiled in controversy over a photo that shows him smoking a bong. The United States swimming association suspended Phelps from competition for three months and the swimmer lost an endorsement deal with Kellogg's.

Phelps is listed as one of the speakers at IBM's Pulse show, with promotional materials urging attendees to come "be inspired by special guest speaker, Olympic champion Michael Phelps." 

But a report by CNBC said the news organization "has confirmed through multiple sources that Michael Phelps did not show up at the IBM Pulse 2009 Conference at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, where he was scheduled to speak on Tuesday."

A spokesman for Phelps said it was his decision, rather than IBM's, to cancel the appearance, according to CNBC. "Michael is concentrating on swimming this week," the spokesman told CNBC.

Phelps has won 14 Olympic gold medals including the eight last summer, which broke a record previously held by Mark Spitz. Phelps has not yet announced whether he will swim at the 2012 Olympics.

The IBM Pulse show runs from Sunday through Thursday, and features IBM executives and customers discussing IT service management.

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