Aussie pool queen Cate Campbell’s Olympics sledge gets her into a war of words with American swimming legend Michael Phelps

  • Cate Campbell’s sharp comments have lit the fuse for the Olympic Games
  • Olympic star Michael Phelps was left fuming over the comments
  • Campbell said the war of words increases the rivalry for the Games

Australian swimmer Cate Campbell’s sledging on the US team at the Olympics has landed her in a war of words with US pool legend Michael Phelps – and she’s quite happy about it.

Australia had the upper hand at last year’s world championships, but were left upset when US broadcaster NBC changed their own medal chart to put the US on top, despite Australia having a superior gold medal tally of 13 to seven.

Campbell, who recently narrowly missed qualifying for Paris, took aim at the Americans in an interview with Channel Nine’s Today show after the world championships, calling them “sore losers.”

As the U.S. team began their trials last week, American swimmer Lily King and Phelps were shown the clip as NBC ramped up the rivalry.

Cate Campbell (pictured) has stoked a feud with the US after the world championships – and she says the fiery rivalry is good for the sport

Michael Phelps (pictured) said he would watch Campbell's sled 'every day' to get motivated when he was swimming in Paris

Michael Phelps (pictured) said he would watch Campbell’s sled ‘every day’ to get motivated when he was swimming in Paris

And a surprised Phelps revealed what he would do as an athlete after seeing the clip.

‘Wow. That’s the first time I’ve seen this,” Phelps said.

“I would watch that thing every day to give me that little something extra [motivation].’

King said, “I just think it’s funny that it gets on their nerves so much. That’s funny.

‘Is it worse if they hit us than someone else? Yes. I’m glad everyone is jealous of the pride we have for our country.

“We like each other, but we want to kill each other when we’re in the pool.”

On Monday morning, Campbell appeared again on Today and continued to incite the Americans.

“Who knew a few comments were said in jest [could] have caused all these problems. But at the end of the day, that’s what we love about sports,” she said.

Campbell said she regrets mentioning the Star Spangled Banner, but maintains that

Campbell said she regrets mentioning the Star Spangled Banner, but maintains that “a little nonsense never hurt anyone.”

“It’s the rivalry that gets everyone going, that gets the fire in the belly.

“Australia has had a rivalry with the US for so long and a little nonsense never hurt anyone.

“We’re up against a country of 350 million people – there are 27 million people here in Australia.

“It’s so satisfying when we can beat the big dogs… and Australia loves being the underdog. We thrive on that.

“Maybe Americans will thrive on the fire in their bellies and become truly patriotic.”

“I know I brought the Star Spangled Banner, and that was a big mistake, but if you want to try the Advance Australia Fair, I don’t mind.

‘It contains one of the least sexy words in the English language: girt. That probably only comes after words like moist and secrete. Go for your life.

‘But you know what? “I’m still a very proud Australian and I will sing that anthem with such pride for the rest of my life.”

Today, host Karl Stefanovic called Phelps an “absolute tosser” and asked Campbell to send the swimming great one last final message.

“There’s no message… I’ll do the talking, he’ll do the talking, but the Australian Dolphins and the U.S. Swim Team are going to do the talking in the pool,” Campbell said.

Australia has defeated the US twice at the world championships but has not managed to top the medal tally at the Olympics since Melbourne 1956.