Swimming sensation Michael Phelps made his way into the finals of the 200-meter butterfly event of the 2016 Rio Olympics on Monday.
However, it was in the dressing room where a more interesting drama was taking place – a face-off between Phelps and rival South African swimmer Chad Le Clos.
In the 2012 London Olympics, Le Clos had bagged the gold medal in the same event, outracing Phelps by the smallest of margins. On Monday, as the two swimmers waited ahead of their semi-final event, Le Clos started shadow boxing and jumping in place.
Phelps, who was sitting right next to Le Clos, did nothing but give his rival contestant a stare.
As reported by Yahoo News, Phelps achieved the second position, while Le Clos came in third in the semi-final event. Phelps finished with 1:54:12 on the clock and Le Clos with 1:55:19. Phelps, who won his 19th gold medal in men’s freestyle relay event on Sunday, holds the Olympic record for the 200 meter butterfly event – 1:51:51.
Phelps arrived at the event after having undergone a procedure known as cupping. Popular among swimmers and other athletes in this Olympics, it is a technique used to open blood vessels and enhance blood flow. Phelps prefers the version of the procedure that involves heated cups.
Phelps and Le Clos are scheduled to swim on Tuesday night. It will be the fifth final for Phelps.
Phelps was asked what he was thinking in the dressing room ahead of his contest. “Nothing,” he said. “I was trying to not even look at [Le Clos]. He does his thing, I do my thing.”
Although Phelps had retired in 2012, he came back in 2014 to ready himself for the 2016 Rio Olympics, as reported by the Daily Mail. In swimming, Team USA is ahead of any other country. So far, they have bagged 14 medals – including four gold, four silver and six bronze.
Let's check in with Michael Phelps to see if he holds grudges…. pic.twitter.com/gQAUtbQ4a5
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) August 9, 2016
— Caroline Franciskato (@caro_kato) August 9, 2016