Michael Phelps takes an Olympic-size loss on his Baltimore condo

Michael Phelps swimming

If losing money on a home was an Olympic event, the games’ all-time medal winner might reach the podium again.

I just read a report on TMZ that says swimmer Michael Phelps just sold his palatial Baltimore condo at a $440,000 loss.

According to the celebrity gossip website, the swimmer bought the 4,080-square-foot home for $1.69 million in 2007 – just as the real estate bubble was beginning to burst.

Last week Phelps sold the 3-bedroom , 3.5-bath condo for $1.25 million, after listing it earlier this year for $1.42 million.

At first blush, that seems like quite a loss, even for a high-profile athlete who’s expected to earn $100 million from endorsements over the course of his life.

The condominum is located in Fells Point, a trendy waterfront community known for its bars and nightlife, just east of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

The 27-year-old swimmer lived there for the past five years, and it’s quite the bachelor pad with multiple levels, floor-to-ceiling windows, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and a bathroom fit for, well, an Olympian.

No one seems to know why Phelps is selling – or where he’s going to live.

He’s said that London will be his last Olympics as a competitor, but there are reports that television networks are vying to sign him up as a sports announcer. (I’ve really got to stop spending so much time on TMZ)

In a recent interview on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, Phelps was asked about a notorious photo that showed him smoking a pot pipe and nearly wrecked his endorsement career back in 2009.

"I'll make a million mistakes in my life but as long as I never make the same mistake again, then I've been able to learn and grow," Phelps told Morgan.

So after giving it some thought, I’m inclined to give the guy a pass on this one.

Taking a loss on any home doesn’t seem like a very big screw-up when prices are down an average of 35% from their peak in the summer of 2006.

He just got caught in an unprecedented real estate bubble and paid the price -- about 176,000 Subway sandwiches by my calculation.

Just chalk this up as a life lesson Phelps can easily afford.

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