‘Phelps Face’ Is the Best Meme of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games
Do you watch the 2016 Olympic Games every night, or are you letting newly-minted Olympic correspondent Leslie Jones sum it up for you? If so, you're missing out on some real feats — such as volleyball suddenly seeming exciting, after watching Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross trounce their competition like a well-oiled machine. But spectating via Twitter does keep one abreast(stroke) of the games' funniest, most meme-worthy moments: Case in point, the #PhelpsFace incident of August 8.
U.S. champion swimmer Michael Phelps, he of the 23 Olympic medals and 8,000 signature headphones, was waiting to swim in the men's 200m butterfly semi-finals when it appears he saw something he didn't like. Or rather, someone he didn't like: South African swimmer Chad le Clos, who bested Phelps in the category finals in 2012. As le Clos...warmed up? shadowboxed a ghost? in front of him, we, as a nation, were gifted with Phelps' unwavering glare.
Or maybe Phelps was just listening to Eminem's "Lose Yourself" really loudly on repeat and spacing out as he psyched himself up. He says he was okay with it! That face, though. It was good television.
People definitely reveled in the rivalry. Let no American cultural moment go un-Mean Girlsed.
Soon everyone on Twitter was concocting their own reasons for making #PhelpsFace, from horrible news to petty grievances to frankly tiresome connections to the 2016 presidential race. Apparently cartoonish misery is highly relatable! (Phelps took second place, by the way; le Clos placed fourth).
Check out a roundup of some of our favorites below.
The 2016 Emmy Nominees, Then and Now