Filed Under:

Lochte Cruises To Win Gold, Beating Phelps In The 400 IM

Play associated audio

Ryan Lochte won the gold medal in the men's 400-meter individual medley Saturday, beating Michael Phelps and the rest of a talented field at the London 2012 Olympics.

Lochte finished with a time of 4:05.18, beating Brazil's Thiago Pereira (4:08.86) and Japan's Kosuke Hagino (4:08.94). Phelps was fourth, at 4:09.28. Lochte sprang to an early lead in the butterfly, and solidified it with his backstroke.

The victory wasn't a surprise to Lochte, who said that he knew he was in good shape coming into the London Games. Still, the win seemed to take a while to sink in.

"I think I'm kind of in shock right now," he said after the race. But he soon seemed to be completely recovered — and showing the personality he's known for. According to the AP:

"About a half-hour after the race, the laid-back Floridian returned to the medal podium to receive the fourth gold medal of his career. Wearing diamond-studded grillz in his mouth and lime-green sneakers on the feet that powered him through the water faster than anyone else, Lochte strolled around the deck kissing his medal while Bruce Springsteen's 'Born in the USA' played over the
loudspeaker."

After accepting his medal, Lochte invited Pereira and Hagino onto the podium's top step along with him. There, the three grinned and posed for photographers, biting their medals.

During the race, Phelps swam in the pool's eighth lane, a position resulting from his unimpressive qualifying swim earlier in the day. That was a disadvantage in the race's final freestyle leg, as Phelps, who breathes to his right, could not easily keep track of the rest of the field.

But Phelps refused to blame the lane for his fourth-place finish — one of his rare Olympic events that hasn't ended with him on the podium.

"It was just a crappy race," he said. "I felt fine the first 200, then I don't know. They just swam a better race than me, a smarter race than me, and were better prepared than me. That's why they're on the medal stand."

NPR's Howard Berkes passes along this quote from Phelps: "I was trying to find a gear I couldn't find. It was a frustrating finish... but I am getting faster and I've got a bunch of other races to come. I hope to finish better than I started."

Many observers had been expecting a 1-2 American finish in this race — the only question, for many, was which of the two would win. Lochte has had a strangle-hold on the 400m individual medley since 2009, while Phelps holds the world record in the event. But in U.S. trials before the Summer Games, Lochte beat Phelps in the same race by nearly a second.

Still, neither American was the top seed coming into the race. The fastest qualifying time was turned in by Japan's Hagino, who set an Asian continental record at 4:10.01 — more than two seconds quicker than Lochte and three seconds faster than Phelps. He improved on that time in the final.

In losing the race, Phelps also lost his bid to become the first three-peat winner of the same Olympic swimming event.

"I know he gave it everything he had," Lochte said of Phelps. "I'm going to go talk to him in the dressing room."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Theeb' Looks At Middle East History Through The Eyes Of A Bedouin Boy

The Oscar-nominated film is set in 1916 Saudi Arabia, a pivotal time in the region. Director Naji Abu Nowar says he wanted to explore "how strange and surreal it must have been" for the Bedouins.
NPR

Beer And Snack Pairings: A Super Bowl Game Everyone Can Win

Which beer goes with guacamole? How can a brew complement spicy wings? Two craft beer experts share their favorite pairings and help us take our Super Bowl snack game to the next level.
NPR

Tourists Flock To New Hampshire For Front Row Seat To Presidential Politics

NPR's Robert Siegel reports on people who are not involved in presidential campaigns traveling to New Hampshire to observe the action surrounding the primary. There are families trying to give their kids a civics lesson, couples trying to see presidential politics up close, and groups of students who serve as interns for campaigns as part of their studies.
NPR

OK, Google, Where Did I Put My Thinking Cap?

It can be too easy for students to Google an assignment before they stop to think about it. Some researchers say we're losing our critical thinking and memory skills by relying on the search bar.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.