18-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps joined ASU’s famed “Curtain of Distraction” on Thursday, aiding the Sun Devils in their home victory against the Oregon State Beavers.
With 13:47 left in the game OSU’s Stephen Thompson Jr. headed to the foul line to shoot a pair of free throws. Phelps, flanked by a pair of students, emerged from behind the curtain and tore off his top to expose a chest adorned with shimmering gold medals. Thompson’s first free throw rimmed out. Phelps retreated behind the curtain and reemerged just prior to Thompson’s second attempt. Phelps ripped off his pants revealing a pastel maroon-and-gold speedo and once again, Thompson missed.
Arizona State, never really in jeopardy of losing the game, won 86-68. Phelps’ performance contributed, in part, to the Beavers shooting only 9-for-20 from the charity stripe.
Phelps is currently living in Tempe to work with his longtime trainer, Bob Bowman, who is now the head coach of ASU’s swim team.
CURTAIN OF DISTRACTION
Since it’s debut a couple of years ago, the Curtain of Distraction has produced a plethora of short vignettes with the intention of lowering the opponent’s free throw percentage when facing the student section. It’s worked — to the tune of 10-12 percentage points, which translates into a reduction of the opponent’s score by about 2.5 points per game.
Maybe for his next appearance, Phelps could try a butterfly outfit.