LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) -- Swimming's governing body praised Olympic champion Michael Phelps on Wednesday for his public apology after being photographed inhaling from a marijuana pipe.

"As a citizen, Michael Phelps displayed inappropriate behavior," FINA said in a statement. "But his sincere regret and the promise that such a situation will not happen again are sufficient guarantees that this great star will continue generating respect and appreciation to all fans of our sport around the globe."

The 23-year-old Phelps apologized to fans and sponsors this week after the British tabloid News of the World published a picture taken during a November house party at the University of South Carolina appeared to show the swimmer smoking pot.

Swim wear company Speedo and several of Phelps' other sponsors have said they also accept his apology and will stand by him. Phelps won a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics last summer.

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