August 22, 2008
Michael Phelps doesn't have a girlfriend, but he celebrated his record-breaking eight gold medals in Beijing by sneaking off for a sizzling game of tonsil hockey with one of Australia's hottest Olympians.
Phelps, fresh from shattering Mark Spitz's 36-year-old record, was spotted Monday night in a hot make-out session with Down Under swimmer Stephanie Rice, a source tells The Post's Clemente Lisi and Luke Dennehy. The pumped-up pair clinched and swapped spit at a celebratory bash outside the Olympic Village.
The Baltimore Bullet swooped in for the lip-lock with the 20-year-old brunette just weeks after she split from Aussie swimmer Eamon Sullivan. "All the swimmers are talking about it, and [Sullivan] is cut up about what happened," the source said.
The day after the face-sucking frolics, Phelps and Rice cheekily posed together for Speedo - laughing and playfully groping each other as a photographer snapped them in their swimsuits. 'I definitely admire him for his athletic ability and everything he's achieved,' gushed Rice, who won three gold medals of her own. 'I'm just really glad to be In the Mix with that.'
Whether the dynamic duo is now a couple isn't known. Phelps' rep didn't return our calls.
Since winning, the 6-foot-4 wonder has been linked to US swimmer Amanda Beard, who posed nude for Playboy, and British model Lily Donaldson. Both have denied ever dating him, with Beard going as far as to fume, "Eww, that's nasty."
Meanwhile, Simon & Schuster's Free Press imprint has signed Phelps to write 'Built To Succeed,' a behind-the-scenes look at the training regimen that led to his victorious performances. It'll be out in December. Sources say Phelps got a $1 million advance in anticipation of its doing better than his 2005 tome, 'Beneath the Surface,' which sold only 10,000 copies.