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Fourth-Place Medal

Michael Phelps strips down for Louis Vuitton ad

Fourth-Place Medal

Louis Vuitton ad

Michael Phelps is back in the water, sort of. The Speedo-clad superhero of the U.S. Olympic swim team is taking the world's fanciest bath in a new Louis Vuitton ad.

Phelps may have retired from competitive swimming, but that isn't going to stop him from making a living in the water. The new ad has the all-time winningest Olympian sitting in a bathtub wearing nothing but Speedos and goggles. Goggles? You may be able to make the case for wearing something resembling clothing in the tub, but who wears goggles for a few inches of water?

[ Related: Michael Phelps says he and Michael Jordan are the greatest ]

We may have just discovered the secret to Michael's success. Perhaps it wasn't his superhuman physique or his incomparable work ethic. Maybe it was just a pair of lucky goggles. And they seem to be working in and out the pool. If you've had a chance to see who Michael is dating these days, you wouldn't go anywhere without them either.

Phelps apparently, at least in the ad, carries his goggles, Speedos and 22 Olympic medals everywhere he goes in a leather Louis Vuitton duffle bag. He even fearlessly carries it right to the bathtub. Unlike us mere mortals, Phelps' dominance of H2O ameliorates the contentious relationship between leather and water.

The ad was reportedly shot by renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz, which makes sense given her knack for the art of composing shots of famous people having a wash. Leibovitz loves a good bathtub shot -- be it her shot of Angelina Jolie nude in the tub, or her photo of Whoopie Goldberg in a bathtub full of milk.

[ Related: Michael Phelps tells why he's not eating 12,000 calories anymore ]

This probably won't be the last time we see Michael Phelps in the water. He remains a marketable name and his association with the pool is the stuff of legends. And 2012 may not be the last time he's in the winner's circle. Word is he's taking golfing lessons from Tiger Woods' old swinging coach. Let's hope those aren't the only lessons he learns from Tiger's life.

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