This Fencing Team Member Spoofs Michael Phelps' Epic Frown & Shows Why We All Love Team USA
Move over, McKayla Maroney — there's a new Olympic face in town, and it belongs to American swimmer Michael Phelps. Like the American gymnast in the 2012 London Games, Phelps' grimace from the 2016 Rio Games went viral earlier this week, as #PhelpsFace became the latest and greatest meme on the Internet. Now, an American fencer has spoofed Phelps' famous face in perhaps the best team bonding exercise that Team USA has unveiled to date.
On Wednesday, Katharine Holmes of the U.S. women's fencing team shared an image on Instagram of Phelps' now-famous frown next to a mean-looking grimace of her own. Just days before, Phelps' expression went viral when an image showed Phelps frowning as his rival, South African swimmer Chad le Clos, shadowboxed in front of him in the pre-race warm-up room. The face instantly popped up in memes around the internet, suggesting that Phelps' feelings toward le Clos may be the most relatable thing about him.
Holmes' interpretation of the Phelps face looked intimidating in its own right. She shared it on Instagram with the caption, "I see you @m_phelps00 and I raise you..." Fencing clearly doesn't get the same level of attention in the U.S. as swimming does — you may have not heard of Holmes, while you've definitely heard of Phelps — but her Instagram post reflects the camaraderie and intensity that all American Olympic athletes share, regardless of sport or airtime.
The 23-year-old Holmes is a senior at Princeton University, according to her U.S.A. fencing bio. She is originally from Washington, D.C. and she first took up fencing at 9 years old, after discovering that she had a passion for reading about the Middle Ages and knights in shining armor. She's a top three fencer in the U.S. and is ranked number 27 in the world. Aside from fencing, her Instagram bio states that Holmes is on the pre-med track at Princeton.
One of Holmes' teammates, Daryl Homer, won a historic silver medal in the men's individual saber competition on Wednesday. Homer, who hails from the Virgin Islands, won the first medal for an American in the event in more than 100 years, according to USA Today.
According to a different Instagram post from Holmes, she'll make her Olympics debut as she competes on Thursday. Her match might not be as highly viewed as Phelps' primetime races for his 20th and 21st gold medals on Tuesday, but it certainly deserves just as much hype. Holmes could bring home a medal for her country and based on that facial expression, she definitely has the determination to do so.