Michael Phelps responds to Aussie trashing Team USA: ‘Make them eat every word’

Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time with 28 gold medals, is no longer swimming, but he has not lost his competitive spirit.

The former Olympic swimmer was shown a clip of Australian swimmer Cate Campbell talking smack about the United States’ swim team at the 2023 World Championships in August 2023, and his response was to say he’d make the competition “eat every word” if he was still competing.

“Australia coming out on top is one thing, but it is just so much sweeter beating America,” Campbell said. “There were a couple of nights, particularly the first night of competition, where we did not have to hear the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ ring out through the stadium and I cannot tell you how happy that made me. If I never hear that song again it will be too soon. Bring on Paris, that’s all I have to say. U.S., stop being sore losers.”

“When we’re right next to each other in the warm-up area, the U.S. has this infernal cowbell that they ring, and as someone leaves to go to the competition pool, they ring out ‘U-S-A, U-S-A’ and I have never wanted to punch someone more and steal that cowbell,” she added.

Phelps responded by saying he, too, endured trash-talking and that he used that as motivation.

“I appreciate your comments, Cate,” Phelps said after viewing the footage. “If somebody said that to me, I would lose it. I would literally make them eat every word they just said about me. Because people have done it — Chad Le Clos, [Ian] Thorpe, you guys have all talked sh*t about me. And I had the last laugh.”

“So for the Americans, if you see what I just saw, I would watch that thing every single day to give me that little extra bit of just mmph,” he continued.

U.S. Olympian swimmer Abbey Weitzeil let the competition know during a press conference at trials that Team USA will be bringing the cowbell, “extra loud.”

“We’re all bringing the cowbell,” she said. “Whenever comments are made about your country or your jobs, it’s all competitive, and I think we all are competitive, our competitive side comes out. So we’re all bringing the cowbell, extra loud.”

Turns out, ironically, that Campbell didn’t even qualify for the Summer Olympics, as one social media user noted:

Here’s a quick sampling of other responses to the story, as seen on the social media platform X:

Tom Tillison


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