What Are Those Spots on Michael Phelps’ Back?

I always hope my articles, in some way, inform readers. But this post in particular serves no other purpose. If you’ve been watching the Olympics — and since these are the Summer (and not Winter) Games, I sure hope you are — you might have seen some dark red splotches on Michael Phelps’ back last night. I’ve noticed them on other athletes, including gymnasts. They are the result of “cupping,” a post-exercise process that involves sticking plastic suction cups on sore muscles.

I know this because my wife “cups,” so I’d seen the softball-sized circles on her back and shoulders before. She convinced me to try it once, but the cups wouldn’t stick to my Lebanese skin. We’ve debated the effectiveness of cupping , but now that Olympic athletes are using them, my wife has been proven “right.”

Anyway, I hadn’t heard an announcer mention them, but I have to imagine people are wondering if Phelps had been repeatedly hit with a mallet or something. Now you know he’s just a cupping addict.

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