Michael Phelps' Intense Face Launches a Thousand Memes Before Race Against Chad le Clos
It was the mean mug seen around the world.
Fans took to social media on Monday night after ‘ rival Chad le Clos of South Africa tried his best to distract the American with some shadow boxing just moments before they went head-to-head in the finals for the 200-meter butterfly, swimming in lanes 3 and 5.
However, Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history, remained unfazed and gave an epic death stare, quickly dubbed #PhelpsFace on social media, in return.
For context: Phelps is especially eager to reclaim gold in the event after le Clos won first place by 0.05 seconds at the 2012 London Games.
Phelps’ death-stare seemed to overcome le Clos’s shadow-boxing. He finished more than a second ahead of le Clos in the heat. Both, however, came in behind Hungarian Tamás Kenderesi.
“Everyone has their own race strategy. If that’s his, that’s his,” Phelps told NBC’s Michelle Tafoya of le Clos, explaining that he was unfazed by his rival’s pre-race maneuvers.
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Le Clos quickly became a trending topic on Twitter while fans created the hashtag #PhelpsFace following the dressing room antics.
Both men advance to Tuesday’s 200m butterfly finals for a rematch. Phelps will swim in his fifth Olympic 200m butterfly in hopes of winning his 20th gold medal and 24th medal overall.