Michael Phelps game face is making the Internet go absolutely crazy after the swimmer was caught on camera furiously scowling at another swimmer as they both got ready for the 200 meter butterfly semifinal heat at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
According to Hollywood Life, Phelps was getting in the Olympics zone his own way, while long-time rival Chad Le Clos was “dancing and shadow boxing” during his warm up as he prepared to take on the 19-time Olympic gold medal winning American swimmer again. Chad seemed to be deliberately hanging out right in front of Michael, who lost to his South African rival at the 2012 Olympics. Michael sat scowling and glaring at LeClos with a supremely angry look on his face.
“That’s not a face you’d want to mess with.”
— TaterToT™ (@sawmilltaters) August 9, 2016
Time reports that Phelps’ face had more than a bit of death stare going on, and the whole stare got even scarier and shrouded looking because his large headphones together with the hood of his 2016 Olympics Team USA jacket pulled down over his head. The #Phelpsface was so intense that it started trending on Twitter as fans made the multi-gold medalist into a social media “meme of the moment. “Like father, like son,” tweeted the Today Show about the new dad’s face.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) August 9, 2016
Phelps definitely seemed to be reliving some bad memories of that time in London when Le Clos beat him in the very same event. If he was working up some steam to put the other swimmer in his place, that would make total sense. As it turned out, Le Clos wasn’t the guy Michael had to worry about in this race. He should have been keeping an eye on Tamas Kenderesi from Hungary, who edged out Phelps “with a time of 1:53.96 compared to Phelps second place finish at 1:54.12. Chad was a full second behind Michael, and in the Olympic pool, a second is more like a minute for the rest of us.
Michael Phelps will go for his 2nd gold in Rio tonight after taking 2nd in the 200-meter butterfly semifinal. https://t.co/LUtawdcHgB
— Baltimore Now (@BaltimoreCP) August 9, 2016
Michael may have been thinking about his health, as well as his swimming rival when he turned the death stare on Le Clos. The 23-time Olympic medalist is getting older, and at 31, he doesn’t have a lot of time left to power through for the win.
Even in his (relative) old age, it's still poetry watching Phelps work his walls. G.O.A.T:https://t.co/yNBQeVs8Du
— Brian A. Anderson (@thebanderson) August 8, 2016
The National Post reports that he’s been trying a bunch of different things in his health care regime in an attempt to stop the clock, at least for a little while until the Olympics are over. One of those alternatives left him looking far worse and had fans worried about their favorite swimmer.
my mom just asked if the red spots on Michael Phelps are Zika
— mercedes (@muhmuhmercedes) August 8, 2016
Phelps’ face is clear of welts from the treatment, but his body is covered with purple bruises and “dark bruise-like circles” after he completed his last round of a treatment meant to give him a competitive edge at the 2016 Olympics now that he’s “past the prime age of elite swimming.” Some fans were worried that the Phelps 2016 Olympics bid might have made him a victim of the scary Zika virus-carrying mosquitoes.
— Lizzy from the Block (@LizHolGolightly) August 8, 2016
It turns out that Michael’s 2016 Olympic strategy includes using a recovery treatment technique known as cupping. The restorative therapy is supposed to help draw blood to a particular area when thick glass cups are placed on the skin where the body is sore. The suction action of the glass cups helps to improve blood flow and more blood to the strained muscle relieves pain. The treatment should help the athlete recover more quickly when they are experiencing muscle pain, something that older swimmers have to deal with regularly.
“I have done it (cupping) for a while but I haven’t had bad ones like this for a while.”
The treatment seems to be working for Phelps if his Olympic performance in 2016 so far is anything to go by. He’d already won one gold when the famous face went viral. Phelps’ fans are just hoping that he can go on winning the 2016 Olympics without the scary Phelps face!
— Q. Allan Brocka (@allanbrocka) August 9, 2016
[Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images]