Twitter has been buzzing the last 24 hours about Michael Phelps, and it’s not just because the Olympic swimming legend will be competing Tuesday night in the 200m butterfly event. Trending hashtag #PhelpsFace has been the source of Twitter jokes and memes since Monday, and it is now officially viral.
For those who are unaware, #PhelpsFace popped up after a clip of the decorated Olympian surfaced where he appears to be glaring at South African swimmer Chad le Clos. In a 45-second long NBC clip, Phelps stares straight ahead as le Clos dances and warms up in front of him.
Phelps isn't merely "eyeing up the competition" though.
The rivalry between le Clos and Phelps goes back to the 2012 Olympic games in London when then 20-year-old South African beat Phelps in the 200m butterfly event by just 0.05 seconds.
After the clip went up Monday night it didn’t take long for the internet to respond, and many began likening Phelps’s look to a “murder face” and his “dressing room death stare.” Countless memes have since been created, comparing Phelps’ mean mug to Star Wars Jedi characters and even former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Phelps is the most decorated Olympian and captured his 23rd Olympic medal Monday evening in the Men’s 400 freestyle relay. Phelps made his Olympic debut at the Sydney Games in 2000 with his only event, the 200m butterfly.
Can Phelps’ face help him get the gold at Tuesday evening’s event? Here are five memes that say “yes.”
Monday night, during the semifinals, Phelps and le Clos raced with Phelps clocking 1:54.12 against Le Clos’ 1:55.19 seconds.
“I’m finishing well,” Phelps told the media during after the race (via NCB). “I need to probably work on some momentum going in and out of turns. But as a whole I didn’t chop any walls tonight. I thought my underwaters were better than this morning. I feel a lot better than I did this morning.”
Safe to say, viewers will be able to tell with one look from Phelps.
The event kicks off Tuesday evening at 9 p.m. EST.