The sound of smashing guitars echoed down the years from Sydney to London today when a reporter from Down Under asked Michael Phelps to comment on the Aussie 4x100m freestyle quartet dubbed (by Aussie media) "The Weapons of Mass Destruction", with James The Missile Magnussen and James The Rocket Roberts at the helm of a mission to wipe out the US.
Said Phelps of the relay: "Its going to be a challenging race for sure - all of them are. We're gonna put up some guys there at night who we think can post the fastest time in then world. We're gonna try to swim as hard as we can."
A thunderous roll of laughter - Phelps joining in a little sheepishly - filled the main press conference hall at the Olympic Park when Phelps followed up with: "If you get caught up in other people's talking and the distraction of that, it's not what we're gonna do … we're not gonna run our mouths, our country's never done that. We never have ... well sometimes - I forgot Sydney! "The people in this team haven't done that. We didn't say smash them like guitars."
On the eve of the 2000 Games Gary Hall Jr said that the US would "smash the Aussies like guitars" in the 4x100m relay. Last in for the US, he chased down Ian Thorpe, past him, turned and gave the impression that he would deliver on his promise for the Americans - but then, Thorpey fired back and out touched him for Australian gold on a memorable opening night.
"Yeah, we learned our lesson there!" said Bob Bowman, who is in charge of strategy for the US relay as it faces the prospect of Mass Destruction a year after Magnussen led the Aussie quartet to the world title ahead of the US.
Phelps added through a broad smile: "We did get smashed like guitars in 2000. That came back to haunt us - I know that."
More on the USA team press conferences, with Ryan Lochte, Natalie Coughlin, Rebecca Soni, Missy Franklin and head coaches Gregg Troy and Terri McKeever, to follow later.