Michael Phelps has won 16 (??!!) Olympic medals:
He took home 8 gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics to add to his 6 gold medals from Athens (and don’t forget 2 bronze!). He was the big hero of the Beijing Olympics, with lots of talk about him being part fish. We all rooted for him along with his mother in the stands, who was almost just as fun to watch.
But like any superstar, the media was just waiting for him to stumble and of course he did (he’s human!), including being caught smoking pot.
Just recently, MMA fighter and Olympic medalist in Judo, Ronda Rousey talked publicly about how Michael Phelps seems to receive special attention, being set apart even from other Olympians. Yahoo Sports quotes the Judo champ:
Rousey said while at a party for all American Olympians, the athletes happily mingled together. NBA players hung with the rest of the group, but Phelps had his own area that was just for his group.
“These NBA players are a bigger deal than this guy, and they’re hanging out with us. We’re teammates. We’re not a bunch of groupies. Come hang out with us,” Rousey said.
She said it was a similar set-up when Team USA visited “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which rubbed her the wrong way.
“I don’t like being somebody’s teammate and being treated like I’m a groupie. I didn’t even want to go out of my way to say hello to that guy. Get over yourself. All you do is swim. If someone slapped you every time you jumped in the pool, I might have a little respect, but I was a swimmer before I did this stuff, and you can’t tell me that swimming is OH MY GOD, because it’s not.”
This feeling is reflected by a lot of people you hear talking about Phelps, though at least just as many are still rooting for him as our strongest example of a super-athlete who can bring home the most medals for the U.S.
Will today’s 4th place loss to Ryan Lochte change people’s perception of him as “untouchable”?
Why do you think superstars such as Phelps end up with haters?
Is it because people love to root for an underdog, and his wins are just too “easy”?
Are you a huge fan of Phelps? Or are you rooting for someone else?