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Cate Campbell swipe enrages America after swimming world championships

The Aussie champion has lit the fuse ahead of a blockbuster showdown at the Paris Olympics in 2024.

Cate Campbell alongside Regan Smith and Kaylee McKeown.
Cate Campbell labelled the Americans 'sore losers' after the swimming world championships. Image: Getty

Aussie swimming champion Cate Campbell has sparked a firestorm in America after labelling the yanks 'pathetic sore losers' for switching their medal table during the swimming world championships. The Aussie team enjoyed their best world championships of all time in Fukuoka as they topped the medal tally with a record-equalling 13 gold.

For the first time in over 20 years, the Aussies finished with more gold than the USA at an international swimming meet. The US ended up with just seven gold medals, but had the most medals overall with 38 after winning 20 silver and 11 bronze.

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Medal tables at the Olympics and world championships are traditionally ordered based on the number of gold medals won. But NBC, who broadcast the world championships in America, weren't about to let the Aussies finish on top.

NBC pulled a mid-meet switch and started showing the table based on overall medals won, which put the USA on top. The move was blasted as 'embarrassing' and 'pathetic' by swimming fans, while Campbell later labelled the Americans "sore losers".

"Australia coming out on top of the world is one thing, but it is just so much sweeter beating America,” the Olympic hero said on Channel 9 on Monday. “The first night of competition, we did not have to hear ‘Star Spangled Banner’ ring out through the stadium. I cannot tell you how happy that made me.

“If I hear that song again it will be too soon. Bring on Paris (2024 Olympics). That’s all I have to say to the US. Stop being sore losers.”

Campbell then took aim at how the Americans show their support for their swimmers at international meets. “The US have this internal cowbell they ring,” she said.

“As someone leaves to go to the competition pool, they ring out, ‘USA, USA’. I have never wanted to punch someone more and steal the cowbell. I really hope someone did.”

Australia's swimmers, pictured here at the world championships.
Australia's swimmers won a record-equalling 16 gold medals at the world championships. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

America fumes over swipe from Cate Campbell

Needless to say, Campbell's comments have gone down like a lead balloon in the States. A clip of Campbell's remarks has caught the attention of a number of US swimmers and fans, with backstroker Lilly King tweeting: “Sorry we aren’t so uptight we can’t cheer for our teammates as they walkout for events. See you in Paris.”

Olympic champion and NBC swimming pundit Rowdy Gaines wrote: “360 days. I can’t wait. The rivalry continues.” While Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated wrote: “Eighty seconds of training fuel for USA Swimming heading toward Paris in ‘24.”

American swimming commentator Kyle Sockwell welcomed the trash talk ahead of what should be a blockbuster Olympic showdown in Paris. “My overall thought is trash talk is completely OK,” he said.

“I think it’s a good thing for the sport. For some reason in swimming, we’ve decided to be the only sport an the planet that makes people hide their emotions in favour of being a good sport on camera.

“This is awesome. Lilly King is awesome. Cate Campbell is awesome. This is good for the sport. What this proves in my eyes is we’re leaving a lot on the table when it comes to marketability for the sport of swimming.”

Members of Team USA at the swimming world championships.
The USA were named team of the swimming world championships despite having less gold than Australia. (Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images) (AFP via Getty Images)

There was also controversy in Fukuoka that the US were given the 'team of the world championships' award, which is always based on overall medals collected, not necessarily gold. Australia's head coach Rohan Taylor said: "We have always looked at it that gold medals were the most important. So from our perspective, we were the best performed team on the gold medal count.

"And when you look at the website and you look at the medal tally, we sit on top of that. That is how I feel. But I'm not taking anything away from the US and they won the award based on the criteria that was there.

"(Australia's former long-time head coach) Don Talbot always said the only thing that mattered was gold. I was brought through the system that way.

"At the end of the day, it's just a reflection of how well this team has performed. Let people decide what they want to decide. Internally, we're really proud."

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