Rio has been huge for Michael Phelps: So far, he’s gone four-for-four in his races, winning his 19th, 20th, 21st, and 22nd career gold medals. But there’s one question on everyone’s mind: Will Phelps retire after the Rio games?
In an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer today, Lochte said he planned to compete in Tokyo — and that he believes Phelps will, too.
“I guarantee he will be there,” Lochte said. “I think so, I really think so. So Michael, I’ll see you in Tokyo.”
Fox Sports also points out that this isn’t the first time Lochte has been right about Phelps’ retirement claims. After the 2012 Olympics, Phelps announced his retirement, but Lochte said that he’d be back. Lo and behold: In 2014, Phelps was training again, and in 2016 he’s racking up even more medals in Rio.
These two Olympic swimmers have had a 12-year-long friendly rivalry that come to a head at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games when Michael Phelps earned the gold medal for swimming the 200-meter individual medley (200m IM).
Though Lochte holds the world record for men’s 200m IM with a time of one minute, 54 seconds (clocked in during the 2011 World Championships) he’s never managed to replicate that performance at the Olympic level. Instead, Phelps has won the gold medal at each of the last three games, with Lochte finishing at either silver or bronze. On August 11, Phelps completed the 200m IM a full two seconds ahead of his competitors. Lochte failed to medal after coming in fifth place.
“I just wish I did a little better,” Lochte told NBC immediately following the race.
But perhaps Lochte doesn’t really care that he keeps losing to Phelps as long as these two buddies keep getting to compete on the world stage together.
We certainly hope Lochte’s right this time and that we’ll see Phelps once again make history in four more years.
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