Before becoming an MMA fighter and the Strikeforce bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey made her name by winning a bronze medal in judo at the Beijing Olympics. In a recent interview with Elie Seckbach, she talked about how great it was for all Olympians, no matter the stature, to get together and have fun.
Well, almost all Olympians. There was one Olympian who didn’t want to mingle: Michael Phelps.
Rousey said while at a party for all American Olympians, the athletes happily mingled together. NBA players hung with the rest of the group, but Phelps had his own area that was just for his group.
“These NBA players are a bigger deal than this guy, and they’re hanging out with us. We’re teammates. We’re not a bunch of groupies. Come hang out with us,” Rousey said.
She said it was a similar set-up when Team USA visited “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which rubbed her the wrong way.
“I don’t like being somebody’s teammate and being treated like I’m a groupie. I didn’t even want to go out of my way to say hello to that guy. Get over yourself. All you do is swim. If someone slapped you every time you jumped in the pool, I might have a little respect, but I was a swimmer before I did this stuff, and you can’t tell me that swimming is OH MY GOD, because it’s not.”
Rousey isn’t the first athlete to criticize Phelps, who can break Larissa Latynina’s all-time medal record with three medals in London. Fellow swimmer Tyler Clary questioned Phelps’ work ethic after the Olympic Trials.