Michael Phelps wasn't going for the mug-shot look when he posed for his official Olympic photo, but even superstars can get stuck with cringe-worthy ID pictures.
Phelps's tousle-headed look, complete with scraggy beard, rumpled clothing and an almost-menacing glare, prompted comparisons to a police booking photo.
"It seems honored Olympic stars and criminals have one thing in common," wrote Bleacher Report. "(H)orrible head shots."
Phelps said the scowl was simple -- new rules forbid ID pictures with smiles that show the subject's teeth.
"Not allowed to, that was the rule," Phelps said, who had to have a quick re-take.
"That was the picture they got after that, and I think I did actually just wake up from a nap, so that's why the hair is all over the place."
Phelps said he wasn't the only US swimmer saddled with such a sad shot.
"It's kind of funny," he said Wednesday as he fielded a bevy of questions about the picture, which has provoked plenty of comment on social media sites.
"A bunch of our credential pictures are, uh, not flattering."