Not that it’s a big deal as far as we’re concerned, but since a whole lotta folks mercilessly skewered Gabby Douglas (who has since apologized) for not having her hand over her heart (while the national anthem played) when she received her gold medal in Rio, but we need to know what was Michael Phelps‘ excuse for basically skinnin’ and grinnin’ … OK, LAUGHING and looking around, etc. during the national anthem, too.
In other words, why did he get a pass and Gabby didn’t? By the way, according to protocol, one is only required to stand at attention during the national anthem. Putting your hand over your heart is OPTIONAL. That’s only required for the pledge of allegiance. The bottom line is that Gabby did NOTHING wrong.
Anyway, back to Phelps. Here’s what USA Today’s For The Win is reporting:
Michael Phelps won his 20th gold medal when he beat rival Chad le Clos in the 200m butterfly on Tuesday night. He then got up on the top of the winner’s podium, as winners are wont to do, and looked very emotional as the national anthem of the United States began to play. But then, as soon as the crowd started singing, he absolutely lost it. He kept looking to the side of the camera, cracking up for the rest of the medal ceremony like a kid in an elementary school math class whose friends just told a killer joke while the teacher was talking. And it turns out that that’s basically what happened.
After anchoring the 4x200m freestyle relay later that night (where he then won his 21st gold), Phelps told an NBC reporter that he was laughing because his “boys from Baltimore” sitting poolside yelled out “OOOOO!” instead of singing “Oh, say can you see?” during the national anthem. This is a tradition at Orioles games – fans yell “O” extra loud in homage to their beloved birds.
OK, whatever. Anyway, see it below: