McKayla Maroney Responds To That Phelps Face

by Chris Tognotti

So, you've seen that picture of legendary Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, right? You know, the one with the terrifyingly intense yet vaguely goofy stare that preceded the 200-meter butterfly semi-final? Well, the owner of one of the other most famous looks in Olympics history decided to weigh in on Tuesday — aren't you curious how the notoriously unimpressed McKayla Maroney reacted to Michael Phelps' face?

If anybody know what it's like to have a fleeting moment on your face emblazoned into millions of people's memories, it's Maroney. She was just 16 during the 2012 Olympics in London, and had just suffered a disappointing fall in the vault final, an error which cost her dearly, landing her in second place when she'd been so close to claiming Olympic gold.

But what endured in the public memory was the face she made while on the medal stand, with the silver hanging from her neck. Now, however, she may finally be free from her responsibilities as Olympic meme queen, because Phelps' gearing-up expression has been met with every bit the exposure and celebration. In an interview with TMZ on Tuesday, Maroney joked that she "didn't choose this life," called Phelps' face "amazing," and said she now understands why people found her face so funny.

They're hilarious, they're amazing! Somebody tweeted me like "McKayla, looks like somebody took your spot." And I was like, what? And I looked at his pictures, and I was like yes! Go Michael, take it away, please!

Of course, if you haven't actually seen Phelps' face yet, then you're definitely missing out.

Part of what made the moment with Phelps so perfect is what was playing out in front of him — one of his major rivals, South African swimmer Chad le Clos was doing a little boxing pantomime in front of Phelps prior to the start of the race, clearly an upbeat way to get into a physical or mental flow. All he got back from Phelps was the death stare, however, a moment made all the most iconic after Phelps eventually torched him in the final to claim a record 20th career gold medal.

Now, Phelps gets yet another piece of gold to throw on the pile — he was already the most decorated Olympian in history heading into the 2016 games in Rio — and he gets to live forever in meme history, too. Make no mistake, you're going to see that face again and again and again over the months (and maybe even years) to come, so you better get used to it now!