Last week, video of Michael Phelps — or was it? — out and about in China hit the internets, and, as with all things Michael Phelps, caused a brief stir. Just who was that goofy-looking white dude? That’s not Michael Phelps, though he is sort of creepy-looking like the Phelpster. Reveal yourself, cretin!
Alas, it didn’t take long for the impostor to be revealed, even if the Chinese swarming him didn’t believe it. THE TODAY SHOW caught up with the faux Phelps - BBC reporter Steve Parry - and the interview was appropriately syrupy:
“We went down there to do a piece on him, about how great he was, and what the people of Beijing thought about him,” Parry explained. “But it was unbelievable. I can’t imagine how he would feel if he went down there. I don’t know what gives it away,” Parry said. “I think people took the mickey out of him in school for having big ears … He’s certainly a lot thinner than I am. I mean, I must be 50 pounds heavier than he is, you know?”
Of course, the joke here is that any tall white dude gets swarmed in China, and that’s true. Friends visiting and living in the country report their newfound celebrity status with pride; they pose for more cellphone pictures than a 13-year-old girl. Pretending to be Michael Phelps may or may not have accentuated that status.
Unfortunately, fellow BBC reporter Sharron Davies has yet to receive the same recognition. Which is just further proof that China breeds injustice.