Michael Phelps officially won his 22nd Olympic gold medal on Thursday, but rather than applaud him for his speed in the pool, some commentators instead decided to focus on the speed in which he got out of it.
After his 200-meter medley win, Phelps headed over to the warmup pool to prepare for the 100-meter butterfly semifinals, and when he slowly lifted himself out of the water, an NBC commentator remarked that it was probably due to his old age. (Because apparently, 31 is the new 80, and finishing first place in an Olympic event isn’t an exhausting task that might make you too tired to lift yourself up quickly.)
To make matters worse, it wasn’t even the first time that Phelps has been criticized for his “old man body” during the Rio Olympics. After he helped his team win gold in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay on Tuesday, commentators made similar jokes at Phelps’s expense after his teammates helped pull him out of the pool.
Meanwhile, Phelps had just finished his second gold medal-winning event of the night — something few other people can claim in a lifetime. When you’re at that level, I think we can all agree that you should be allowed to take as much time as you need to return to dry land.