So far, there has been less drama at the 2016 Rio Olympics than everyone expected. Most people expected a complete disaster. At this point, the worst problems have been algae turning the already-polluted water green and Ryan Lochte, along with other team USA athletes, falsely claiming they were robbed at gunpoint. Nevertheless, athletes are still competing at a high level, both on the playing surface and in the sex-crazed Olympic Village. Lochte’s teammate and greatest rival, Michael Phelps, is among the stars of these Olympic Games.
Phelps’ dominance in the pool, shown by 28 medals including 23 gold medals, is without question. However, what caught the eye of Chinese users of Sina Weibo is his stretching ability. They know they will not catch him in the pool. Nevertheless, some hope to mimic the ‘back slap’ stretch he performs before a race. With an 80 inch wingspan, when Phelps limbers up, he almost touches his hands behind his back. Call it a stretch, or one of the most inspirational hugs someone has ever given themselves. Either way, it is the envy of China.
Social media users in China frequently participate in weird competitions. Over the last year, major challenges included women showing they were skinnier than a piece of A4 paper and individuals touching their belly buttons. However, the popularity of both contests pales in comparison to the Phelps back slap trend. During the last three days, there have been over 12 million views of the hashtags #Feiyubaobimohoubei and #Feiyubao. The phrases translate, roughly, to ‘Phelps touching arms while crossing his back.’ With Phelps announcing his retirement from the sport, Chinese users are capitalizing on his final performance. Few people are able to complete the challenge, although some look like they have been able to achieve the feat with a little assistance and a second pair of hands.