Michael Phelps’ ‘death stare’: US swim star unimpressed by rival’s antics

In the ready room before the 2oom butterfly semi-final, Le Clos started shadowboxing in front of Phelps and the 19-time gold medalist was not impressed

The rivalry between swimmers Michael Phelps and Chad Le Clos continued on Monday, as a tense exchange before their 200m butterfly semi-final was caught on camera.

In the ready room before the race, Le Clos decided to start shadowboxing in front of Phelps and the 19-time Olympic gold medalist was not impressed. Under his hood, with his trademark headphones on, Phelps stared down his long-time rival and NBC Sports caught the exchange on camera.


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The sight of Phelps grilling Le Clos created a raft of new memes. Some compared Phelps to Darth Vader and Eminem.

Deadspin (@Deadspin) August 9, 2016

You underestimate the power of the Dark Side… pic.twitter.com/0exveKlZvn

Bendan (@ChiBDM) August 9, 2016

When you’re the real Slim Shady but someone else stood up. pic.twitter.com/CtQTu7FXEa

Phelps beat Le Clos in their heat, but Hungarys Tamas Kenderesi was quickest overall.

Afterwards, NBCs Michele Tafoya asked Phelps what he was thinking as he glared at Le Clos. Nothing, honestly I was trying not to really even look at him, he said. He does his thing, I do my thing. I was watching the heat in front of me.

At London 2012, Phelps equalled the record of Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina by winning his 18th Olympic medal in the 200m butterfly. However, Phelps could only manage silver: the then 20-year-old Le Clos beat the American to take the gold. It was the first time Phelps had lost in a 200m butterfly event since 2001.

Last year, the South African was offended by comments Phelps made about the lack of speed in the sport. After winning the 100m butterfly at the 2015 world championships, Le Clos told Eurosport: I just did a [100m butterfly] time that [Phelps] hasnt done in four years, so he can keep quiet now.

Phelps beat Le Closs time a few days later. Afterwards <a href=”http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/olympics/phelps/bal-michael-phelps-chad-le-clos-100-butterfly-20150808-story.html” data-link-name=”in” body link” class=”u-underline”>he told reporters: [Le Closs] comments were interesting, Phelps said. It just fuels me. If you want to do it, go for it. I welcome it.

The two are set to square off in the 200m butterfly final on Tuesday night.


Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/aug/09/michael-phelps-death-stare-rio-2016-chad-le-clos

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