Michael Phelps laughed during the National Anthem, and it's ok

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Michael Phelps now has 21 gold medals

You would think after winning a gold medal for the 20th time, Michael Phelps might be used to the pomp and circumstance. But Phelps is no ordinary athlete.

Many in the television audience may have been taken aback when the Maryland native quickly transitioned from visibly holding back the tears to laughter while the "Star Spangled Banner" was being played Tuesday night during the medal ceremony for the 200 meter butterfly.

The thing is, the words toward the end of the anthem have special meaning for anyone from Baltimore, where Phelps was raised, and is considered by many on par with Cal Ripken for all-time sports greatness.

"And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there." These words are somber and sang the same in Baltimore or Boston, Chicago or Los Angeles.

Michael Phelps Olympic history:

12 PHOTOS
Michael Phelps Olympic history
See Gallery
Michael Phelps Olympic history
Team USA swimmer Michael Phelps prepares to swim laps during a practice session at Northside Swim Center in San Antonio, Texas, July 16, 2016. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo
Michael Phelps (C) of the U.S. swims the butterfly stroke during his team's victory in the men's 4x100 meters medley relay at the National Aquatics Center during the Beijing 2008 Olympics August 17, 2008. Picture taken with underwater camera. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File photo
Michael Phelps of the U.S. poses with his gold medal after winning the men's 4x100m medley relay final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre August 4, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/File photo
Michael Phelps and Garrett Weber-Gale (L) of the U.S. celebrate after winning the men's 4x100m freestyle relay swimming final at the National Aquatics Center during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 11, 2008. REUTERS/David Gray (CHINA)
Gold medallist Michael Phelps of the U.S. listens to his national anthem during the men's 200m individual medley victory ceremony during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre August 2, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray 
Members of the men's 4 x 200m freestyle relay team, Michael Phelps, Conor Dwyer, Ryan Lochte and Ricky Berens (L-R) hold their national flag as they celebrate their gold medal win in the men's 4x200m freestyle relay victory ceremony during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre July 31, 2012. Phelps won the record 19th Olympic medal on Tuesday when he joined forces with his U.S. team mates to win the 4x200m freestyle relay. REUTERS/Jorge Silva 
Michael Phelps of the U.S. competes in the men's 400m individual medley swimming final at the National Aquatics Center during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 10, 2008. Picture taken with underwater camera. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay (CHINA)
Michael Phelps of the U.S. holds up his award recognising him as the most decorated Olympian, during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre August 4, 2012. Phelps ended his incredible Olympic career on the perfect note on Saturday, winning his 18th gold medal for the United States in the men's medley relay, the last time he will swim a competitive race. REUTERS/Brian Snyder 
A combination photo shows Michael Phelps of the U.S. holding each of his eight gold medals in the swimming competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Phelps won his eighth gold medal on Sunday, beating Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals won at a single Games in 1972. The medals were won in: (Top row L-R) 400m individual medley (August 10), 4x100m freestyle relay (August 11), 200m freestyle (August 12), 200m butterfly (August 13). (Bottom row L-R) 4x200m freestyle relay (August 13), 200m individual medley (August 15), 100m butterfly (August 16), and 4x100m medley relay (August 17). REUTERS/Staff (CHINA)
Michael Phelps of the U.S. looks down at the pool after his team was beaten to the gold by France in the men's 4x100m freestyle relay final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre July 29, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray 
Photographers surround Michael Phelps of the U.S. after he won his eighth gold medal of the games at the National Aquatics Center during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, August 17, 2008. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn (CHINA)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

But the next line, is slightly different.

"Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave," becomes "OOOOO-HHHHH, say does.." in Baltimore, with fans screaming the "Oh" as loud as possible. It's a tribute to the Orioles, the baseball team that moved to Baltimore in 1954 and helped many a sports fan get over the loss of the beloved Colts when they relocated in the dead of night to Indianapolis in 1984.

Phelps was asked about it after the ceremony and explained that the yelling reminded him of home.

"My boys from Baltimore were down on the other end, and back in Maryland, we all say "O!" for the Orioles during that part of the National Anthem. And all of the sudden I hear them roar "O!" and I knew exactly where I came from," explained Phelps during a post-ceremony interview. "I just lost it because those guys came down from Baltimore and New York City to be here, and it's just special to see those guys in the stands."

Shortly afterwards he went on to win his 21st gold medal in the 4x200 men's freestyle relay race. In other words, just your average day in the life of Michael Phelps.

Boomer Phelps at Rio 2016:

32 PHOTOS
Boomer Phelps at Rio 2016
See Gallery
Boomer Phelps at Rio 2016
Michel Phelps' son Boomer, left, is held by Phelps' finance Nicole Johnson at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, Tuesday, June 28, 2016, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
2016 Rio Olympics - Swimming - Victory Ceremony - Men's 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay Victory Ceremony - Olympic Aquatics Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 07/08/2016. Nicole Johnson, the fiance of Michael Phelps (USA) of USA, carries their son Boomer as she waves to him. REUTERS/Michael Dalder FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
OMAHA, NE - JULY 01: Michael Phelps (L) of the United States celebrates with his fiance Nicole Johnson (R) and their son Boomer (C) after finishing first in the final heat for the Men's 200 Meter Individual Medley during Day Six of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Swimming Trials at CenturyLink Center on July 1, 2016 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Jul 1, 2016; Omaha, NE, USA; Michael Phelps greets fiance Nicole Johnson and their son Boomer Phelps during the U.S. Olympic swimming team trials at CenturyLink Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Michel Phelps' son Boomer, left, is held by Phelps' finance Nicole Johnson at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, Tuesday, June 28, 2016, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
OMAHA, NE - JUNE 30: Nicole Johnson, fiancee of Michael Phelps, looks on with son Boomer prior to the semi-final heat for the Men's 200 Meter Individual Medley during Day Five of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Swimming Trials at CenturyLink Center on June 30, 2016 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Michel Phelps' son Boomer, left, his held by Phelps' finance Nicole Johnson at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, Tuesday, June 28, 2016, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Jul 1, 2016; Omaha, NE, USA; Michael Phelps greets fiance Nicole Johnson and their son Boomer Phelps during the U.S. Olympic swimming team trials at CenturyLink Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
United States' Michael Phelps' son Boomer wears ear protection during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
United States' Michael Phelps' son Boomer wears ear protection during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Nicole Johnson the fiancee of United States' Michael Phelps, holding his baby Boomer, leaves the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Nicole Johnson, fiance of United States' Michael Phelps, holds their baby Boomer during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
RIO DE JANERIO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 08: Nicole Johnson (R), partner of Michael Phelps of the United States, holds their son Boomer during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 08, 2016. (Photo by Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 08: Nicole Johnson, partner of Michael Phelps of the United States, holds their son Boomer on Day 3 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 8, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
2016 Rio Olympics - Swimming - Semifinal - Women's 200m Freestyle Semifinals - Olympic Aquatics Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 08/08/2016.Nicole Johnson, the fiance of Michael Phelps (USA) of USA, carries their son Boomer REUTERS/David Gray FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Swimming - Semifinal - Women's 200m Freestyle Semifinals - Olympic Aquatics Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 08/08/2016.Nicole Johnson, the fiance of Michael Phelps (USA) of USA, carries their son Boomer REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Swimming - Victory Ceremony - Men's 200m Butterfly Victory Ceremony - Olympic Aquatics Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 09/08/2016. Michael Phelps (USA) of USA greets his son Boomer after he won the gold medal. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Swimming - Victory Ceremony - Men's 200m Butterfly Victory Ceremony - Olympic Aquatics Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 09/08/2016. Michael Phelps (USA) of USA greets his mother Debbie, fiance Nicole Johnson and their son Boomer after he won the gold medal. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Swimming - Victory Ceremony - Men's 200m Butterfly Victory Ceremony - Olympic Aquatics Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 09/08/2016. Michael Phelps (USA) of USA greets his mother Debbie, fiance Nicole Johnson and their son Boomer after he won the gold medal. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 9: Gold medalist Michael Phelps of USA kisses his 3 months old son Boomer Phelps following the medal ceremony for the men's 200m butterfly on day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
United States' Michael Phelps celebrates winning his gold medal in the men's 200-meter butterfly with his mother Debbie, fiance Nicole Johnson and baby Boomer during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
2016 Rio Olympics - Swimming - Victory Ceremony - Men's 200m Butterfly Victory Ceremony - Olympic Aquatics Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 09/08/2016. Michael Phelps (USA) of USA greets his son Boomer after he won the gold medal. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
United States' Michael Phelps fiancee, Nicole Johnson, holds his baby son Boomer during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip )
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 12: (BROADCAST - OUT) Nicole Johnson and Boomer Phelps pose for a photo on the Today show set on Copacabana Beach on August 12, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
USA's Michael Phelps' son Boomer cries in the arms of his mother Nicole Johnson during swimming events at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 11, 2016. / AFP / Odd ANDERSEN (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
USA's Michael Phelps' son Boomer holds his grandmother's finger during swimming events at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 11, 2016. / AFP / Odd Andersen (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 11: Michael Phelps' fiancee Nicole Johnson, holds their son Boomer Phelps on day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 11: Michael Phelps' fiancee Nicole Johnson, holds their son Boomer Phelps on day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
2016 Rio Olympics - Swimming - Final - Men's 4 x 100m Medley Relay Final - Olympic Aquatics Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 13/08/2016. Nicole Johnson, the fiance of Michael Phelps (USA) of USA, carries their son Boomer. At right is Deborah Phelps, the mother of Michael Phelps (USA). REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
USA's Michael Phelps' partner Nicole Johnson holding Michael Phelps' son, Boomer celebrates after the Men's swimming 4 x 100m Medley Relay Final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 13, 2016. / AFP / Odd ANDERSEN (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 12: (BROADCAST - OUT) Nicole Johnson and Boomer Phelps pose for a photo on the Today show set on Copacabana Beach on August 12, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report

Read Full Story

From Our Partners