Why Michael Phelps Was Laughing During the National Anthem

By Chika Dunu, Epoch Times
August 11, 2016 Updated: August 11, 2016

Michael Phelps is having the time of his life—it was written all over his face.

In the midst of receiving his 20th Olympics gold medal after winning the 200-meter fly final on Aug. 9, Phelps keeled over in laughter as the national anthem played.


Social media users were confused about the sudden outburst.

According to a report by Sports Illustrated, Phelps’s hometown friends were the reason behind his giggles. 

“My boys from Baltimore were down on the other end, and back in Maryland, we all say “O!” for the Orioles during that part of the national anthem,” Phelps explained in an interview with NBC.

“And all of the sudden I hear them roar ‘O!’ and I knew exactly where it came from, and I just lost it because those guys came down from Baltimore and New York City to be here, and it’s just special to see those guys in the stands.”

Apparently, its a common tradition in Maryland, as some Twitter users noted.

However, some users wondered about the unfair criticism Gabby Douglas received for her behavior as the national anthem played. 

Douglas, who was criticized for not placing her right hand over her heart during the gold medal ceremony on Aug. 9 clarified the situation in a statement. 

“In response to a few tweets I saw tonight, I always stand at attention out of respect for our country whenever the national anthem is played,” she wrote. “I never meant any disrespect and apologize if I offended anyone.”