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Australian swimmer Cate Campbell addresses viral comments on Team USA after coming up short at Olympic trials

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Swimmer Cate Campbell will not make the trip to Paris next month to represent Australia in the upcoming Summer Olympics.

Campbell finished in seventh place in the 50m freestyle at Australia’s Olympic swimming trials, which meant she would not qualify to be a member of her home country’s Olympic team in July. She did not compete in the 100m event.

Campbell’s failure to qualify is notable when considering she was recently at the center of controversy. A video circulated showing her boasting about defeating Team USA at last year’s World Championships.

In an interview after the 2023 World Championships, Campbell characterized the U.S. competitors as “sore losers” after Australia captured more gold medals at the event.


“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.”

The comments drew the ire of U.S. swimming fans. A video also surfaced showing 23-time gold medalist Michael Phelps reacting to Campbell’s remarks.

Cate Campbell competes

“If somebody said that to me, I would lose it. I would make them eat every word they just said about me,” Phelps said before adding, “Well, the good news is the Olympics will be here shortly, and we’ll be able to see what the results are.”

Cate Campbell prepares to compete

Meanwhile, Campbell was certainly disappointed with her shortcomings at last week’s Australian trials.

“It’s bitter-sweet,” Campbell told Australia’s Channel 9 as she reflected on the disappointing finish. “I had hoped for the fairytale ending, and it’s what I had worked for and what I felt I was capable of, and unfortunately my body just said, ‘No.’ “

If she had qualified, Campbell would have been the first Aussie swimmer to compete in five straight Olympics. But, she said she will now step away from competitive swimming.

“Swimming is one of the most grueling sports out there, and I have been at it a very, very long time,” Campbell told Channel 9. “This is the end, and it’s a perfect way to exit the pool… I would have loved that fairytale ending more than anything else, but I can now sit back and reflect on a wonderful career. I can leave the sport with my head held really high.” 

Campbell addressed her viral comments after the trials by suggesting that rivalries ultimately help fuel the sport.

“Who knew a couple of comments said in jest [could] have stirred up all this trouble. But ultimately, that’s kind of what we love about sport,” she said. “It’s the rivalries that get everyone going that gets the fire in the belly… Australia has had such a long rivalry with the U.S. and a little bit of trash talk never hurt anyone.”

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