Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps rivalry is not new. It is also not the creation of media during the London Summer Olympics 2012. They have been around for a decade and have competed for the same gold and silver medals that are on offer in swimming. But as Michael Phelps surged and surged in the initial years, Lochte was happy to play second fiddle and wait for his time to come.
And thankfully his patience and hard work started paying rich dividends not just this year. He started peaking after the Beijing Olympics and seems to have become as big a name as Michael Phelps, if not bigger than him. But even if he is still not a bigger name than Phelps during this Olympic, he is certainly expected to garner more medals than his more celebrated fellow teammate.
To be true, for almost a decade or so the major competitive story line at every meaningful swimming championship has arisen from Michael Phelps’s international and historic dominance. How many medals will he win? How many records will he break? How dramatically will he increase his own legend? So it’s rather strange to watch Phelps settling into London Olympics trailed by more curiosity than awe. At the moment, he doesn’t appear to be the best swimmer in his own country, let alone in the world.
In the 400m medley first he struggled to get into final and even when he anyhow made it to the finals he was unable to win not just gold, but even silver or bronze.
We have seen Michael Phelps struggling to get his act together and dominate the swimming world immediately after Beijing Olympic. It was amazing to see his performance go down so badly. But that may be understandable given the fact that he had worked truly hard and was completely drained after the Beijing Olympics.
But either he is down or in his great form, mere the mention of Phelps creates fears in the minds of his opponents in swimming. They know that whenever he gets things going, he becomes simply unstoppable. And that was on display in the 200 IM when he looked on top of the world. But as Phelps has slowed a bit, Lochte has got his rhythm. A report says, “As Phelps’s enthusiasm for training has waned since he won eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Lochte has motored by with his head down, setting the stage for a potentially magnificent confrontation or, perhaps, an official changing of the guard”