The rumors are connected to Taylor Lianne Chandler, a woman, who was born a man. She claims that her and the swimmer hooked up and the story is being spread over social media. When you are as unstoppable as the "Flying Fish" people will do anything to try to distract you. That's why athletes like LeBron James take a social media hiatus during the playoffs.
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According to Bleacher Report the 31-year-old is an American household name, leading to more ridicule during times like these. Fans around the world are supporting their national teams as they compete in Rio. This means that they are more willing to share false information about the Olympians from other countries.
Carmelo Anthony is a fellow Olympian, from Baltimore, who can definitely relate to what Phelps is dealing with. The NBA All-Star has made some questionable decisions throughout his career, often leading to unfair ridicule. The media's microscope generally causes athletes to perform poorly.