This is a question that I have seen spread across the Internet since Michael celebrated his victory over Chad le Clos. In the world of participation medals and hurt feelings, one could say yes, he is too cocky. In the real world where people train and work for years to even get to the Olympics, no, he is not too cocky.
In the past twenty years a lot of peoples’ attitudes over sports have changed. Athletes are given participation medals and trophies, just for showing up. People believe that mediocracy should be rewarded so that untalented individuals don’t have hurt feelings. Most of the people that I am talking about are the liberal soccer moms and dads that run around demanding that their unathletic kid get 30 minutes of field time, even though they couldn’t kick a soccer ball to save their life. It was people with this mindset that were upset with Phelps after the 2016 200-meter freestyle.
To give a little more background on this “controversy”, if it can even be called that, Michael Phelps has amassed 28 Olympic medals in during his career. If we break this down he has 23 gold medals, 3 silver medals, and 2 bronze medals. Most athletes are lucky if they can even place in the Olympics once, let alone win 23 GOLD medals. In fact, Michael Phelps has personally won more gold medals than 62 countries.
As stated earlier, most of the concern over Phelps’ ego arose after he celebrated his win over Chad le Clos, who had beat him at the 2012 Olympic games. Even though le Clos has identified Phelps as one of his idols, he still engaged in the old past time of trash talk. He was actively trying to get into Phelps’ head early in the games, when he was shadow boxing and dancing in front of him. Viewers could easily tell that this infuriated Phelps, since he was giving le Clos a death glare during this time. Finally, the time came and Phelps came in first in the 200-meter freestyle, while le Clos came in fourth.
Was Michael Phelps being a little cocky when he beat his arrogant opponent? Maybe. Does Michael Phelps have the right to be a little cocky? Definitely. Is Michael Phelps too cocky? No. Was Chad le Clos too cocky? Definitely.