WATCH: Michael Phelps Reacts To Cate Campbell’s Comments About Team USA

During the 2024 U.S. Olympic trials, NBC ran a segment of Michael Phelps reacting to Australian swimmer Cate Campbell‘s comments about Team USA following the 2023 World Championships, where she emphasized how much she liked it when Australians beat Americans in swimming.

“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,” Campbell said in August 2023. “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.”

“When we’re right next to each other in the warm-up area, the U.S. has this infernal cowbell that they ring, and as someone leaves to go to the competition pool, they ring out ‘U-S-A, U-S-A’ and I have never wanted to punch someone more and steal that cowbell,” Campbell added.

Campbell, who did not qualify for the 2024 Australian Olympic team, told the Sydney Morning Herald this April that she did not mean harm with her remarks. In addition, 2024 Australian Olympian and three-time Olympic gold medalist Kaylee McKeown has stated that Campbell’s comments are not representative of how the entire Australian swimming team feels.

Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all-time, was shown by NBC the video of Campbell’s statements, and he encouraged Team USA to use her words as motivation. In addition, he also alluded to scrums he had with swimmers in his careers where he made them “eat every word they just said” about him with his performances.

“I appreciate your comments, Cate,” Phelps said. “If somebody said that to me, I would lose it. I would literally make them eat every word they just said about me. Because people have done it — Chad Le Clos, [Ian] Thorpe, you guys have all talked sh*t about me. And I had the last laugh. So for the Americans, if you see what I just saw, I would watch that thing every single day to give me that little extra bit of just mmph.”

Australian TV Channel 9, which Campbell had previously been on last year to make her comments about the Americans, responded to Phelps’ reaction — albeit in a lighter manner.

In addition to Phelps’ reaction, USA Swimming fully embraced cowbells at Olympic trials.

“We’re all bringing the cowbell,” said 2024 U.S. Olympian Abbey Weitzeil in a press conference during trials. “Whenever comments are made about your country or your jobs, it’s all competitive, and I think we all are competitive, our competitive side comes out. So we’re all bringing the cowbell, extra loud.”

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
20 days ago

Americans are way too serious! See what the British and Australians say to each other, it’s far worse.

Maybe lighten up and get your head out your asses. 😉

22 days ago

its already viral all over TikTok lol

23 days ago

You know what i would like, an article about swimming. Just for a change

23 days ago

I’ve always really liked Phelps, but he kind of seems like… a huge tosser here? And weirdly aggressive? Can he pls stop saying these things so I can get back to liking him again k thxxx

23 days ago

Cate’s retired

23 days ago

And I’m shocked by Phelps’ reaction. I’ve really seen a different side to him.

23 days ago

Cate’s comments were probably true sentiments , expressed in a humorous fashion, to and for her own country.
I too would hate a headache inducing cowbell clanging in an indoor pool whilst trying to prepare for my own race. And the swaggering chants of USA just come across as annoying. I think when you are a huge top nation like the USA , it really would become you to be more sporting and considerate to other smaller nations. Have you ever thought how it feels to all the other smaller nations, some with maybe only a handful of team members present?
I like teams that behave with more modesty and humility. You don’t NEED to go round getting… Read more »

Here Comes Lezak
23 days ago

Kind of interesting considering the US and Australia are really strong allies honestly.

If anything I feel like we should both have a rivalry with China given the doping scandal and other geopolitical tensions.

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

Read More »