On Sunday evening at the MTV Video Music Awards, Michael Phelps talked about the game face he made while his opponent, South African swimmer Chad Le Clos, danced in front of him before a race in Rio. After weeks of wondering who was playing through the Olympian's headphones when he frowned with such intensity and determination, Phelps finally revealed that he's a fan of rapper Future. So, next time you have a major competition — athletic or not — you'll know how to get pumped up for the game, Phelps-style of course.
Exactly a week after the 2016 Rio Olympics came to a close, Phelps took to the VMA's stage and introduced the rapper who so famously helped the swimmer get into the zone. Just as exciting, the camera swung into the stage to show that the U.S. women's gymnastics team was also in attendance, making for quite the star-studded audience.
As a music fan, I'm so excited to be here. If there's one thing that's been constant through my entire career, it's the motivation and inspiration I get from hip-hop. There's no rapper today more inspiring than Future. His optimism is right there in his name. Remember in Rio when I made that face that ended up all over the Internet? ... I may have a lot of golds, but this guy has all the platinum.
At the ceremony, Future, who hails from Atlanta, Georgia, was nominated for top rap artist and his album What A Time To Be Alive with Drake also scored a nomination slot for top rap album of the year. It's not too often that we're granted the opportunity to witness such different worlds — swimming and hip-hop — interact with each other. Like Phelps mentioned, both have seen success in ways that can't justifiably be compared. The swimmer said he was planning to retire after Rio, and he has an incredibly impressive career behind him to back that decision. Until someone breaks his record of winning 28 Olympic medals, he'll go down in history as the most decorated Olympian of all time. And in remembrance of what may have been his final Olympics, here are some #PhelpsFace throwback memes.
Now that the mystery has finally been solved, his expression makes much more sense. And if you're lucky, he'll postpone his retirement another four years so you can witness it again in Tokyo.