Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps Given Opening Ceremony Honor, Gymnastics Star Rang Up $5,000 Phone Bill

Michael Phelps, USA Olympic swimmer and winner of 22 medals, has been given the honor to carry the United States flag during the Summer Olympic Games Opening Ceremony which will be shown on NBC this Friday evening. This will be Phelps’ fifth time competing in the Olympics.

“I’m honored to be chosen, proud to represent the U.S., and humbled by the significance of carrying the flag and all it stands for,” Phelps told ABC News. “For Sydney, I just wanted to make the team. For Athens, I wanted to win gold for my country. For Beijing, I wanted to do something nobody else had done. In London, I wanted to make history. And now, I want to walk in the Opening Ceremony, take it all in, represent America in the best possible way and make my family proud. This time around, it’s about so much more than medals.”

Japan’s gymnastics star, Kohei Uchimura might have other things on his mind during the Olympics Opening Ceremony. Reportedly, he rang up a nearly $5,000 phone bill due to his addiction to Pokémon GO, reports MSN. Kohei’s buddies has persuaded him to download the app last week and has been playing it ever since during his free time. Stunned that his phone bill added up to 500,000 yen ($4,954), Uchimura was understandably upset on Tuesday.

“He looked dead at the team meal that day,” said his teammate Kenzo Shirai. However, things are looking up for the gymnast as he was able to plead his case to the cell phone provider who reduced his charge down to about $30 a day.

“I really lucked out,” said Uchimura.

One thing fans won’t see during the Olympics Opening Ceremony will be a video skit that features Brazilian fashion model Gisele Bündchen as it has been cut out of the program. Latino Fox News reports that thousands of people were in attendance at the dress rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony where the film was shown. Unfortunately, many misinterpreted the humor of the skit.

Filmmaker Fernando Meirelles said that the scene in question “portrays a food vendor at the beach approaching the supermodel to take a selfie with her. Security guards nearby don’t like it and give chase before Bündchen intervenes. She walks onstage to the song, ‘The Girl From Ipanema.'” Unfortunately, what viewers thought they saw was the model getting “accosted by a boy in ‘plain clothes’ which was followed by a police chase.”

“It was a gag that was not funny, so we cut it,” Meirelles said. “There was nothing that looked like a robbery in the scene except two security guards chasing after a vendor. They are three professional clowns.”

Fernando Alvares Salis, head of the communications department at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, sees it differently, saying that the film would have been a “reaffirmation of racist stereotypes.”

However, many Americans wouldn’t have even noticed the offensive video during the Opening Ceremony or Michael Phelps for that matter, according to a new Gallup poll. It seems that America is ho hum about the Olympic Games. 10 News reports that the Gallup poll finds that only 48 percent of Americans are making plans to watch this year’s Summer Games a “fair amount” or “a great deal.” The other 51 percent claim to watch little to none.

This is the lowest percentage of engaged Americans since Gallup first took up the question in 2000, but it falls in line with the recent Games. The lowest-rated primetime Olympics for adults 18-49 occurred during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. For comparison, six times more people watch this year’s Super Bowl than people watched the Sochi Olympics.

[Photo by Chris Garythen / Getty Images]

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