Saturday, July 28, 2012
Lochte - Phelps Showdown
The much anticipated 400 meter individual medley in swimming at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London was set to be a showdown by the best at this event. Americans Michael Phelps (arguably the greatest swimmer ever) and Ryan Lochte.
This showdown turned into more of a no show. OK, that's really too harsh. These are the best swimmers in the world right now. But for Phelps, something was missing. Give credit to Lochte. He was on world record pace for 7/8 of the race.
Phelps came into the final barely qualifying in the eighth (of eight) slot. Still, this is Michael Phelps. Everybody expected him to be able to flip the switch come the final. But the switch never flipped.
Phelps finished out of the medals, a disappointing fourth place behind Lochte, Brazilian Thiago Pereira (silver) and Japan's Kosuke Hagino (bronze).
Phelps was in trouble after the first 100 meters of the race, the butterfly which is his specialty. He was in first place coming out of the butterfly, but not by nearly enough. After that, Lochte just took over the final 300 meters. It wasn't even close.
Phelps still has a chance for 6 more Olympics medals to add to his collection of 16 (14 gold). But he is no longer the most dominant swimmer in the pool.