Social media has gone crazy since an apparent “stare down” – between South African swimmer Chad le Clos and his American rival Michael Phelps – at the butterfly 200m semi-finals last night in Rio, Brazil.
According to reports, Phelps says he wasn’t looking at Le Clos, and those close to the American Olympic record-breaker (he won his 19th Olympic Gold medal yesterday) say that’s just Phelps’ intensity when preparing for a race.
The media loves the supposed rivalry between the two swimmers and it looks set to make tonight’s race even more exciting to follow for many.
It will be a “rematch” for the two since the London Olympics four years ago when Le Clos shocked Phelps and the world by becoming 200m butterfly champion.
Waiting for the semi-finals last night Phelps’ intense stare was captured on film… while Le Clos was shadow-boxing in front of him… The scene set Twitter alight with tweets about the “death stare” that finally morphed into a trending #PhelpsFace.
Top 15 #PhelpsFace Tweets (in no particular order):
- When your little brother starts a fight with you. But only you get grounded.
- When a stranger tells you to smile.
- When the cops confiscate your grass… and you know they’re going to smoke it.
- When you live in South Africa and realise next week doesn’t have a public holiday.
- When I order a coke and they ask “Is Pepsi Ok?”
- When you see the storage almost full message on your phone for the 3rd time that day.
- When your microwave sounds like World War III and you open it up to find your food still cold…
- When another cashier opens and says “I can help the next person in line” and someone behind you goes over.
- Your face when you get zero retweets on a tweet that was funny.
- When u have won more medals than 85% of nation’s participating yet all u want to do is beat this *ool.
- When you know you’re going to see this meme for the next month.
- When you pour a bowl of cereal and then realise there’s no milk.
- When someone uses “your” when it’s supposed to be “you’re.”
- When all you catch are Pidgeys, Rattatas, and Weedles #PokemonGo
- #PhelpsFace when he realises y’all are just making memes out of him.
When asked about the incident, Le Clos said:
‘For my side there is no real tension. I have no emotion when I am racing. Of course there is a huge rivalry between Michael and myself. As I have said before I have huge respect for him.
‘In the last year there was definitely spoken words over his nationals and I had world championships, I think a lot of it was misquoted. But at the end of the day I am a racer and I want to beat him and he wants to beat me.’
After the incident, Le Clos qualified fourth fastest in the finals of the men’s 200m butterfly – a brilliant outcome after winning Silver in Freestyle less than an hour before! (Phelps finished second in the semi-final.)
— Kelly Spears (@kelsospears) August 9, 2016
— Don Van Natta Jr. (@DVNJr) August 9, 2016
— Report UK (@ReportUK) August 9, 2016
The final is tonight – Wednesday 3.28am SA time (Tuesday 10.28pm in Rio).