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Michael Phelps heated after watching Australian swimmer rip Team USA: ‘I would make them eat every word’

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Michael Phelps, the United States swimmer who owns the most Olympic medals in the Games’ history with 28, might be out of the pool, but his competitive spirit is still very much alive. 

It was quite evident when he was shown a video of an Australian swimmer complaining about the United States’ swim team leading up to the Paris Olympics.

NBC Olympics and Team USA Instagram pages showed the clip of Phelps being given a phone, where he watched Cate Campbell, the 32-year-old Australian who spoke with the country’s Channel 9 at the 2023 World Championships in Japan. 

In the clip, Campbell is bragging about beating Team USA in the pool, and Australia had 15 gold medals to the States’ seven, though Team USA left Japan with 40 total medals to Australia’s 30. 

“Such, such, sore losers,” Campbell said in the clip of Team USA. “Australia coming out on top is one thing, but it is just so much sweeter beating America. 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.”

Campbell also noted not being a fan of Team USA ringing a cowbell and chanting “USA! USA!” in their warmup area. 

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“I’ve never wanted to punch someone more,” Campbell added. 

While Phelps was watching the clip, one could tell he was getting irritated with Campbell’s words. His response confirmed that. 

Cate Campbell thanks crowd

“If somebody said that to me, I would lose it,” Phelps said candidly. “I would make them eat every word they just said about me.”

Phelps may not be helping the U.S. in the pool anymore, but he wants the swimmers that will be in Paris to watch that video every day leading up to competition. Because, when he was competing, Phelps used the trash-talking from others, including Australian Ian Thorpe, to his own advantage. 

“You guys all talked s— about me,” Phelps said. “And I had the last laugh. So, for the Americans, if you see what I just saw, I would watch that thing every day to give me that little extra bit of just oomph.”

Phelps will still be present in Paris, as NBCUniversal announced him returning as a broadcaster for swimming competitions. And you already know he’ll be looking to see how the Americans respond to the Australians, and the rest of their competition, as they chase more gold. 

Michael Phelps and Cate Campbell side by side

“The good news is the Olympics will be here shortly and we’ll be able to see what the results are,” Phelps said after shaking his head as the video ended. 

Campbell downplayed Phelps’ remarks.

“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, via Wide World of Sports.

“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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