MANILA, Philippines – Make way for the new swimming champion, 27-year-old American Ryan Lochte.
In one of the most awaited swimming finals of the London 2012 Games, the first clash of arch rivals and team mates Michael Phelps and Lochte, the latter reigned supreme over the historic swimmer who hauled 8 gold medals in Beijing.
Lochte, who was largely overshadowed by Phelps in the 2008 Games, took home the gold medal with a time of 4:05.18 while the former champion placed 4th place in his most disappointing Olympic finish yet.
This is Phelps’ first time not to medal in the Games, while Lochte’s gold is the USA’s first for the London Olympics.
“I’ve put the work in. I know its my time and I’m ready,” Lochte told BBC right after his impressive victory.
Lochte’s win effectively stopped Phelps from making history yet again by stopping him from defending his title for a third time as the world’s fastest 400m IM swimmer in the world.
Had Phelps won, he would’be been the first male swimmer to win the same Olympic event in three succesive Games.
Lochte and Phelps were head to head after the first 100m meters, but after the butterfly, things went downhill for Phelps. Lochte gained an impressive lead in the backstroke, the second 100m of the race, one he held on to convincingly until the end of the race.
Rounding off the top three were Brazil’s Thiago Pereira who clocked in at 4:08.86, while Japan’s Kosuke Hagino took home the bronze with a time of 4:08.94.
Phelps finished fourth with a dissapointing 4:09.28, over 5 seconds his world record of 4:03.84 that he set in Beijing.
Earlier in the morning, Phelps barely made the finals after finishing with a time of 4:13.33. He took the 8th and final spot.
Phelps has three more chances to be the first male swimmer to win the same event in three consecutive Olympics. He is the two-time defending champion for the 200m and 100m butterfly, as well as the 200m individual medley. – Rappler.com