Lochte had a chance to win six gold medals at the London Olympics. After finishing all of his events he walks away with two gold medals (one individual), two silvers and a bronze. While that's no small feat, Lochte has been considered the world's best swimmer for about a year now, and he came up short of the lofty goals he set for himself.
Really, we shouldn't have expected him to dominate like Phelps did in 2008 at the Beijing Games when he swam eight events and wound up with eight gold medals. It takes a special kind of athlete to swim the kind of ambitious schedule guys like Lochte and Phelps have attempted. And it takes an even more unique guy to actually be able to beat world class competition with regularity while swimming that kind of program.
That showed clearly when Lochte lost his go-to event, the 200 backstroke, to countryman Tyler Clary and Japan's Ryosuke Irie. Then about 30 minutes later when Phelps bested him in the 200 meter individual medley, it was evident that Lochte wasn't at his best.
All Lochte's struggles in London proved was just how special Phelps was in Beijing and even in Athens in 2004. When Phelps out-touched Lochte in the 200 IM on Thursday night to win their final head-to-head matchup, it was the end of an era for these two greats.
Lochte is an incredible athlete and might even be the world's best swimmer at this moment. But on the world's biggest stage he fell short, and we were once again reminded of how truly great Michael Phelps has been throughout his career.
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