Phelps Gives Ledecky Medal-Wearing Advice During SI Photo Shoot

The honors keep coming for the three biggest stars of Team USA’s Olympic team.

Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles have made the cover of Sports Illustrated.

The cover photo was unveiled Tuesday with all three champions wearing their plethora of medals of gold, silver and bronze.

The headline: “The Greatests.”

Sports Illustrated also shared some behind-the-scenes videos of how the shoot came together.

If you’re wondering why Biles is in full gymnastics uniform while Ledecky and Phelps are in street clothes, there’s a good answer. Sports Illustrated’s Lee Feiner said during a Facebook Live chat that Biles came straight to the photo shoot after competing in a discipline — after the event she went through the mandatory doping control, took questions from the media and then arrived at the SI shoot location, still in her competition leotard.

And if you’re wondering why Biles looks taller than she really is, that’s because the photographer had her stand on a camera gear container to balance out the photo. You can see that via this 360-video of the shoot:

Biles is listed at 4 feet, 8 inches tall, while Phelps is 6 feet, 4 inches tall and Ledecky is 6 feet tall.

Ben Eagle of Sports Illustrated said that while Biles was doing her individual portion of the SI photo shoot Ledecky was trading Olympic pins with the IT guys in the back of the room.

Oh, and not that many of us mere mortals would know, but apparently it’s hard to line up all of those Olympic medals around your neck at the same time. 

Ledecky was struggling a bit with hers, so Phelps stepped in and aligned them.

"Depends on how you put them on,” Phelps explained as only the most decorated swimmer in Olympic history could. "I put them on one-by-one and then tuck them behind."

“What?” Ledecky asked, as if she had never thought this hard before about the alignment of her medals.

"I’ve done it before,” Phelps said with a laugh. "You’ll learn, don’t worry about it."

Phelps also had a fun interaction with Ledecky’s mother, who praised Phelps for yet another incredible Olympic Games.

"I tried to compete with your daughter, but she just wiped me out,” Phelps told her during the shoot. “She jut kept breaking every world record known to mankind.”

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