Tempe - US swim star Michael Phelps, hopeful of adding to his record of 22
Olympic medals in August at Rio, showed off his fitness at a college
basketball game by stripping down to his swimsuit.
American, whose record haul of 18 gold medals includes a one-Games
record of eight at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, appeared Thursday night at
a home game of Arizona State University, where he is training for his
next Olympic bid.
With 6:13 elapsed in the second half and Oregon
State's Stephen Thompson going to the free throw line, students behind
the baseline near the basket wheeled out a black curtain known as the
Curtain of Distraction, hoping to break the concentration of opposing
free throw shooters.
Clowns and men dressed as babies have emerged
from the curtain before, but this time the unveiling revealed Phelps
between two shirtless students.
Phelps, wearing a yellow swim cap
and gold medals around his neck, quickly removed his warm-up outfit to
reveal his physique, clad only in a gold swimsuit.
and flexed his muscles to huge cheers from the crowd as Thompson missed
both free throws in what eventually turned out to be an 86-68 Arizona
"We just killed it!!!!" Phelps posted on Twitter.
Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley was happy to have help from an Olympic champion, even one not known for basketball skills.
made a major contribution to the game. It was one of the highlights of
the night for sure," said Hurley, dismissing any notion of impropriety
by the display.
"It was appropriate for his past and his history.
The cool part of it was how much fun he had doing it. It looked like he
enjoyed it and our crowd fed off of it which was nice. We really
appreciate him helping take two points off the board for us."