Who Is Not In This Picture?

US 4x100 Relay Team

The correct answer is: the French 4×100 Relay Team.

The Americans’ relay victory was all the more sweet considering the way France declared itself the favorite prior to the Olympics. The Frenchmen weren’t shy about repeating it either. In a news conference prior to the start of the Games, Bernard, who boasts a tattoo of a shark on his abdomen [Ed. Note: WTF?], was asked what he thought about his country’s chances against the United States.

“The Americans?” Bernard said. “We will smash them.”

Several of Bernard’s teammates followed his lead, even going to far as to suggest that the Americans were scared of the French.

“This morning, Bob (Bowman) had said the French was saying some stuff, talking a little bit of trash,” Phelps said. “It fired me up more than anything else. I told Garret, and he said ‘You know what?’ We’re going to let our swimming do the talking.”

Memo to Alain “the Guppy” Bernard: cross cultural communications, in this case between a culture of “winners” and a culture of “losers”, is fraught with peril. The idea behind “trash talk” is not self-beclowning.