Sports are high-stakes, high-aggression, and high-competition, and don't get more hotly contested or passionate than the Olympics. In such an intense environment, it's common to see and hear competitors throw shade, bark insults, and talk smack. The Olympics are a special gift in this regard, an opportunity for fans to see the world's best athletes and best trash talkers on the globe's largest stage.
There are two sides to the trash talk debate. One side believes it takes away from the spirit of unity by undermining the sportsmanlike competition for which the Olympics is known. The other side believes trash talk gives a psychological edge against an opponent or urges athletes to perform better through aggression. Do whatever it takes to win. The games are the better for it, so the argument goes.
Heinous shade throwers are typically very brash people, and the most egregious, best trash talkers at the Rio Olympics revealed themselves as soon as the games began. Some of these verbal samurai, the top tier athlete trash talkers at the 2016 Summer Olympics, lived up to their boasts straight away. Others, the arrogant blowhards, were left gob smacked by rivals. Take a look and rank for yourself among these champions of 2016 Olympics trash talk.
According a 2016 poll of NBA players, coaches, and officials conducted by the Los Angeles Times, Draymond Green is the best trash talker in the NBA. Surely that makes him one of the best trash talkers on Team USA. Many coaches respect Green's ability to talk his opponents out of their game, though only time will tell whether Green's gift of garbage gab leads to a gold medal for Team USA men's basketball.
So how good is Green's trash talk? According to an anonymous coach interviewed for the article,
Last year, he was talking a gang of trash to Chris Paul. He said, 'Steph [Curry] used to be intimidated by you. But you know what? Those days are over. He's busting your ass every time we see you.' And then it wasn't three minutes after that when Steph had that move on the baseline where he put CP in the 'Matrix,' had Chris falling all over the place on the court.
South African swimmer Chad le Clos stunned the world in 2012, when he beat Michael Phelps by 0.005 seconds in the 200-meter butterfly to win gold in London. In the build up to the 2016 Rio games, le Clos talked smack, saying "Michael Phelps has been talking about how slow the butterfly events have been recently. I just did a time he hasn't done in four years. So, he can keep quiet now." Shots fired.
Le Clos's dad even got in on it, saying, "“However fast Michael goes, we go faster. I don't care about his times, because I know my son is going to beat him.”
So what happened? Well, le Clos kept talking smack, and performed moronic antics like shadowboxing in front of Phelps before getting in the pool. In the end, Phelps wiped the floor with him.
Australian swimmer Mack Horton has a beef with China's Sun Yang. "I don't have time for drug cheats," said Horton, referencing Yang's ban from swimming for doping back in 2014. Not only did Mack lay a verbal smackdown on Yang, he earned a gold medal by beating him.
Casey Patterson made headlines when he stormed off the sand without shaking hands with his opponents after losing a volleyball match with his partner, Jake Gibb. Gibb spoke out about his partner's cocky attitude, saying he's "probably the best trash talker on the AVP tour." Regardless of the loss and lack of sportsmanship, Casey's mouth helped the pair get to the Olympics.