July 28th, 2012
10:17 PM ET

Is swimming's greatest rivalry now dead in the water?

A despondent Michael Phelps ponders what could have been after he came fourth in the 400m individual medley. (Getty)
A despondent Michael Phelps ponders what could have been after he came fourth in the 400m individual medley. (Getty)

Michael Phelps can claim to be the greatest swimmer of all-time for the following reasons:

- In 2008, he performed one of the greatest feats in Olympic history by winning eight gold medals from eight events in the pool
– He has set 29 individual world records, which is in itself a record
– He is the most successful swimmer in World Championships history boasting a haul of 26 gold medals
– And his success has transcended and changed his sport

And at the age of 27, the man known as the Baltimore Bullet and the Flying Fish, was primed to add clear water to any pretenders to the throne by netting a further seven golds to his burgeoning spoils of water-based combat at the London Games. The scene was set for history to once again be rewritten and to add to the spectacle Phelps would need to conquer one of the greatest rivalries in sport, on the greatest of stages, to take glory.

The man most likely to end Phelps' gold run was of course Ryan Lochte - the 27-year-old who was the first man to break a long-course world record since the buoyancy suits ban came into place in 2010 and who won five gold medals in the 2011 World Championships by beating Phelps twice in the 200m freestyle and the 200m individual medley. The all-American fight for supremacy of the pool has proved a powerful narrative in the build up to the Games.

The question is now, in the aftermath of Phelps' capitulation to Lochte in the men's 400m individual medley, is there any rivalry left? In fact, even to suggest Phelps had lost out solely to Lochte would be disingenuous as the American former champion finished fourth behind Brazil's Thiago Periera, who took silver, and Japan's Kosuke Hagino who sealed bronze.

Lochte, on beating his double Olympic champion-teammate by a full four seconds, told reporters: "I'm in shock right now, but I knew I could win so I'm happy I could do that.

"I know he gave everything he had, so I'll have to have a chat with him and see how he is after that." When he does Phelps may repeat the answers he gave to the press: that he had felt great for the first 200m but after that it "didn't happen".

For the inward-looking Phelps the result will leave him much to ponder. He has been used to being within tenths of a second to his rival, whether in front or behind, so this will need some reflection, especially given the tight nature of the semifinal in which Phelps struggled to come through intact.

Lochte, on the other hand, will take great confidence into Monday night's hyped rematch in the 200m individual medley. His gregarious personality may yet about to be challenged with the rigors of becoming a multiple champion, a test that Phelps' is well used to.

For the neutral, the hope will be that this has not been the last chapter in what has been a captivating rivalry, one where the exploits and exertions of one has driven on the other to further greatness.

Phelps is on record saying he has often thought about leaving the sport, if he doesn't bounce back on Monday maybe those voices will carry the day. Even if the outcome is not quite so dramatic, a key factor for rivalries to work is being close enough in performance to beat each other, a factor that is now is doubt.

Phelps, more than ever, will need to recapture the form that built the legacy at the top of this page just to stay close. Lochte may have his eyes set on building a legacy of his own.

soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. Bob

    "was primed to add clear water to any pretenders to the throne by netting a further seven golds to his burgeoning spoils of water-based combat at the London Games. "

    Nice hyperbole, but if you actually thought he had a chance at more than 3-4 golds, you are seriously uninformed.

    July 28, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Reply
  2. GB

    Phelps acted like a little spoiled brat after all the glory. Now he's getting a rude awakening that he's not invencible like he had thought.
    Hopefully Lochte will be more sensible in leading his life as a new champion.

    July 28, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Reply
  3. Jack Daniels

    Eh, phelps still has 6 races left. Lets judge him after the other races are complete.

    July 28, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Reply
  4. Aunty Violet

    Who cares either way? It\'s just swimming, it\'s not neuroscience. So Phelps won a lot of gold medals, yippee for him, he always has that.

    July 28, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Reply
  5. Jimbo

    Michael Phelps won't do much this time around. He just doesn't care enough, which is why he was getting criticized by his own teammate (Tyler Clary) for not training hard enough. Phelps had his legendary 2008 Olympics, but this time around I don't think he'll really win anything, at least on an individual level.

    July 29, 2012 at 12:14 am | Reply
  6. Anon

    Its a disgrace that NBC refuses to show anything live on TV. They should never have the rights to any more Olympic games after refusing to show the opening ceremony and now refusing to show any of the events as they happen.

    What are we supposed to do? Not turn on any social media, TV, and go to no news/sports related websites every day so we can watch the events in prime time?

    While Michael Phelps was coming in 4th place, NBC was airing a interview with some old gymnastic coach no one cares about.

    July 29, 2012 at 12:20 am | Reply
  7. Jor

    Michael phelps is losing now that he cannot cheat wearing the buoyancy suits. His past gold medals should be revoked.

    July 29, 2012 at 12:49 am | Reply
  8. Faye

    I just don't get the media sometimes. You would assume the day's big story would be the fact that Lochte won, not that Phelps lost. Yet CNN decides to go with this absolutely negative piece. Talk about kicking them while they are down, eh?

    July 29, 2012 at 12:52 am | Reply
  9. jeff

    He has been taking too many hits from the bong.

    July 29, 2012 at 12:58 am | Reply
  10. B. Mesa

    Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian ever to date! Ryan Lochte has had the privilege to have him as friend, an idol, a competitor, a coach, and most important, a motivator. How lucky is he? Ryan will be the first to admit that Michael has pushed him to his best. Michael has been there and done it, and he realizes, as we all do when we get older and our bodies pay the price for our accomplishments, that it's Ryans' time. Why does the media build us up only to destroy us. How sad are we?...We should applaud what Michael Phelps has done for human sports in the generations to come. For God's sake, appreciate what we have before it's gone!

    There are so many positive twists the media should concentrate instead of sensationalism. This only sells headlines instead of conserving history, true dedication, and educating our children. Today's media is only looking to cash in on the opportunity for ratings. Michael Phelps has proven himself and it is up to us to realize that. You are a fool if you don't recognize that, and you are a hypocrite if you capitalize on it. He could have simply retired, yet he didn't. We as human beings should be extremely grateful for Michael Phelps and his dedication to the sport, even after him knowing he could not duplicate his previous accomplishments. We should be celebrating that Phelps was human enough to participate and hand over the torch, to his good friend and protege'.

    In the end, Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian to date. And of course, someone will eventually be better than that. I hope Ryan can beat him in all events. To me, that would be the greatest gift Michael Phelps can give humanity. He's already done it, and he is kind enough to continue to share his accolades to inspire new generations instead of secluding himself , when he had already reached the peak. People, be real. Don't be so ignorant to blind yourselves from what he has already done...for us...and for your children.

    I salute Michael Phelps and I am grateful he was here in my lifetime. I also hope Ryan Lochte can surpass that. That is the essence of competition and always wanting to be the greatest. But we should all be grateful for what these individuals have done. It is truly a gift that we are witnessing this in our short lives span.

    We really take things for granted, and the sad thing is that it is right in front of our eyes. Life is too short, recognize and appreciate what is around you. To me, both these athletes are an inspiration to humanity.

    July 29, 2012 at 1:03 am | Reply
  11. RetiredCop

    There is always a faster gun, and no one can remain # 1 forever. I imagine that Phelps, who set the standard, is just dead tired inside, and even though trying again at this Olympics, he may just not have it inside to prevail.
    But perhaps he has a little something up his sleeve, as he initially decided to pass the 400 IM to begin with. Even if he does not perform to Gold standards, he will remain the greatest swimmer of all time, for some time.
    Perhpaps this is Lochte's time, but it cannot compare to Phelps accomplishments,

    July 29, 2012 at 1:12 am | Reply
  12. Sunny

    Lochte wins and everyone is showing pictures of Phelps. phooey

    July 29, 2012 at 1:26 am | Reply
  13. Andrew

    Phelps has nothing left to prove and that is why he isn't on top anymore. But who can blame him?

    July 29, 2012 at 1:28 am | Reply
  14. mitzie - GA

    Michael Phelps didn't train for this event until the last minute. Too bad for him and good for Ryan Lochte. Glad to have a real compettion among American swimmers. Makes it more fun to watch.

    July 29, 2012 at 1:29 am | Reply
  15. Leonore H. Dvorkin

    No one, no matter how good, stays on top forever. Phelps should be happy with what he has accomplished thus far and then try to be happy for those who will surely beat all his records someday. And remember: They're just sports, folks! No one should take any of them too seriously.

    July 29, 2012 at 1:35 am | Reply
  16. JohnRJohnson

    I'm in awe of all these guys. As a former competitive swimmer, I can imagine how much mileage they put in working out for these games. Thousands of gut-splitting yards PER DAY. The difference between the 1st place finisher and the last place finisher is purely genetic. That's the level these guys are competing at. The times they're posting now are body lengths ahead of the world record holders' 20 years ago.

    July 29, 2012 at 1:38 am | Reply
  17. Jazmine

    The media will build you up just to tear you down.. Ask Michael Vick!

    July 29, 2012 at 1:38 am | Reply
  18. glad to read some of these comments

    I agree. We should be celebrating Ryan Lochte and his win, not talking so much about Phelps losing. I hope we can do the same all during these Games, as the U.S. will surely lose many events to others. Let's try to praise the ones who do win, rather than going all "boo hoo" over any U.S. losses and making excuses for the U.S. athletes.

    July 29, 2012 at 1:40 am | Reply
  19. david

    It simply creates a story for the press. This way instead of celebrating a Gold, we are wondering why we have the Gold we have. Sad.

    July 29, 2012 at 1:54 am | Reply
  20. KT

    That's what happens when you try and win without taking drugs. Just like Ben Johnson and the sister who's in jail right now. She broke records in every sprint and the relays and four years later, she couldn't even quilify in anything.

    July 29, 2012 at 1:55 am | Reply
  21. Rasmus

    Just for the record(pun intended),

    There was a Danish woman, Ragnhild Hveger, in the 1930s that sat 44 world records during her career, so the 29 WRs Phelps has can only be alltime for men. She also holds the record for most WRs held at the same time, 19.

    I think Phelps will come back and get at least 3 more medals in the next couple of days to get that record he desires. They don't have to be of gold, he already holds that almost unbeatable record, though I think he will get at least 1 gold, from a team event.

    July 29, 2012 at 2:09 am | Reply
  22. julia

    anyway....i like Michael Phelps.

    July 29, 2012 at 2:10 am | Reply
  23. sharky

    If after the next 6 races he still does badly then fine, the rivalry is gone. This is one freaking race. Good grief.

    July 29, 2012 at 2:19 am | Reply
  24. fltrumpet

    Did you see Ryan moving that tire around? He is motivated to be the best. GO GATORS

    July 29, 2012 at 2:21 am | Reply
  25. Josally

    M. Phelps is an arrogant punk, that doesn't even want to celebrate with the rest of the Olympians from the U.S. now how special does that make him? I love to see anybody make history, but in his case I think we've had enough of him. So I guess it's time for him to go back home an look at his medals.

    July 29, 2012 at 2:33 am | Reply
  26. Josally

    It's time to praise R. Lochte-Go Lochte we're behind you

    July 29, 2012 at 2:38 am | Reply
  27. Mary

    The reason that NBC is not showing anything live on TV is because their is a 12 hour time difference between the US and Great Britain. Figure it out. In other words, Duh.

    July 29, 2012 at 2:43 am | Reply
  28. Professor

    So the demon weed transformed the greatest swimmer ever into a 4th place finisher at the Olympics? Are athletes able to maintain the very peak performance over the long term? Tiger Woods? Except he is only 27.

    Anyway MSNBC needs to be cut off. Isn't there an on-demand and live internet British station running coverage?

    July 29, 2012 at 2:44 am | Reply
  29. WAQ

    yes ,it's said that his a super man ,commiment on him was very suoer

    July 29, 2012 at 2:50 am | Reply
  30. Shilah

    Given what Michael Phelps has accomplished in Beijing 2008, it would be difficult in my view to repeat such a performance. Every athlete reaches a peak in their career before they wane. Michael Phelps has already indicated that this will be his last Olympics. Take nothing away from Ryan's performance. He deserves the spotlight. He has worked so hard and consistently over the years. However for those who are quick to anoint Ryan Lochte as the next sensation, let us start the comparisons after he wins several gold medals in a single Olympics like Michael did in Beijing.

    July 29, 2012 at 2:50 am | Reply
  31. just not blue

    AWESOME reply B Mesa!! You are so right!! It is a tragedy that people would prefer to force to the two individuals to speak negative of each other, when the main thing is, THE GOAL REMAINS IN THE USA!! Placing all of this attention on Phelps loss is still not honoring the hard work Ryan Lochte has done to win!! The focus should be on him!!

    July 29, 2012 at 2:58 am | Reply
  32. jumpingpolarbear

    Phelps will be back stronger than ever :)

    July 29, 2012 at 3:03 am | Reply
  33. An American loser

    keep with the bong a gold medal for the American loser.

    July 29, 2012 at 3:05 am | Reply
  34. nap3null

    What happened to the true spirit of sportsmanship? Of course it's great to win, but we can't always win.

    Hooray for all the swimmers competing in this Olympics. Phelps has done a great job and will continue to do so.

    July 29, 2012 at 3:23 am | Reply
  35. pramok

    Olympics and other events in swimming or any events should change its law and should not allow a single individuals to participate and win more than 3 medals. Someone's is born a freak or genetically altered to beat rest of the world but to to dominate overwhelmingly is not fair in any game. There must be some sort of 'antitrust' to check the monopoly and give rest of the world a fair chance to have more athletes to participate and win evenly. Phelps has already 8 medals from last Olympics, isn't it fare to give chances to new young swimmers ...... ?

    July 29, 2012 at 3:23 am | Reply
  36. boomer1959

    Phelps thought he could cruise to more gold without paying the price to be in prime condition–he's been smoking too much dope and getting his ethics from the people who sell pot to him.

    Hopefully he learns the right lessons from this embarrassment.....

    July 29, 2012 at 3:26 am | Reply
  37. Joe ramos

    China winning gold in swimming means only one thing: Steroids.

    July 29, 2012 at 3:38 am | Reply
  38. ChrisE

    The thing to remember here is that Lochte came into this event the reigning world champion. It's not totally unexpected that Phelps couldn't throw him out of his own house. I'm more interested in the events that are Phelps' best. The next meeting might not be a blowout.

    July 29, 2012 at 3:40 am | Reply
  39. MeeMee

    Maybe Phelps did so well in Beijing in 2008 due to the high tech LZR suit which was designed by NASA . The suit made individuals more buoyant and compressed the body to create less resistance. The Olympic Committee has since banned the suit.

    July 29, 2012 at 3:43 am | Reply
  40. Buoyancy suits.

    It was the buoyancy suits all along.

    July 29, 2012 at 3:45 am | Reply
  41. white1awake

    What a great comment B. Mesa!

    July 29, 2012 at 3:46 am | Reply
  42. jaine

    First, I am going to have to go with the comment about CNN's reporting...DITTO!!! Why is the big story about the loser instead of the winner! Rediulous, lousy reporting. Second, the comment about the live coverage. DITTO again. What in the world is going on here!!! A LOL to the comment about "interviewing an old coach no one cares about while Phelps was coming in 4th." NBC...you are fired!!! Really...how did you get the games this year anyway??? Going online to watch live...and your ad revenue with me.

    July 29, 2012 at 4:07 am | Reply
  43. Mike

    Congrats to Lochte. An Olympic gold medal must be so thrilling to earn. I'm really tired of the stupid hype of Lochte vs. Phelps, the media is so ridiculous. It's not the Lochte-Phelps Games, it's the Olympic Games. Cheer on the Americans and stop pitting the Americans against each other in a battle royale that's obviously not a sure thing. Give up the contrived rivalry, CNN, and let's just cheer on the Americans. Shame on you for focusing on Phelps' loss instead of Lochte's first Olympic gold medal. GO TEAM USA!

    July 29, 2012 at 4:11 am | Reply
  44. dave

    @mary...there's a 6 hour time difference between the eastern US and Great Britain...not 12. And, NBC and the other networks that have covered the Olympics in the past have shown delayed broadcasts during most of the games in other parts of the world. Who cares if they are delayed...at least NBC can edit out some of the time delays and provide the viewer with the "meat" of the games.

    July 29, 2012 at 4:24 am | Reply
  45. CrankMaddog

    It just looks like Phelps really doesn't have his heart to win it all. He is there to have fun and doesn't really care about every race. He really wants two more gold to set the record...which I am sure he will get. So he is saving himself for those races.

    July 29, 2012 at 4:29 am | Reply
  46. goforthegold

    Michael Phelps is a great swimmer. period.
    Ryan Lochte is a great swimmer. period.
    I respect both their accomplishments. period.

    July 29, 2012 at 4:47 am | Reply
  47. Jeremy

    I know he still has some more races (what does he get, like 10 shots at a medal?) but he still hasn't shown up for more than one Olympiad, so he aint no Carl Lewis.

    July 29, 2012 at 4:56 am | Reply
  48. shreyank

    It's not that who won against whom... it shows who has put lot of effort to reach their destiny. Phelps have been set back, may be he couldn't warm-up properly. I'm sure there will be a good show, up-coming in the London Olympic 2012 swimming events..

    July 29, 2012 at 5:04 am | Reply
  49. Bayoubulldog

    Have any of y'all ever heard of Mark Spitz. if i'm not mistaken he won 7 gold medals in swimming in Munich in '72

    July 29, 2012 at 5:23 am | Reply
  50. maya

    Have we lost any connection to the human psyche? That many posters quickly attributed his loss to either marijuana or lack of motivation calls into question if we are all just entranced by the media. I'm fairly sure that Olympic medalists enjoy winning and Phelps is no exception. Instead of focusing on his loss, I think we should meditate on our own failures and attempts to come back. Luckily, most of us get the luxury of our shortcomings not be the subject of debate. I commend Phelps for his devotion to community service with utmost humility and the poise in continuing. He's on the cover of my anatomy and physiology book...he's not a psych case. Success is not final, failure is not fatal...

    July 29, 2012 at 5:28 am | Reply
  51. craig adams

    Mitt is a Twitt !!!!!!!!!

    July 29, 2012 at 5:28 am | Reply
  52. aechols81

    I think Phelps was super impressive in 2008 but became cocky and lazy thereafter. Tonight, he couldn't even look into the camera to explain why he performed so poorly. He's human... I get it, but have some respect because you are an olympian, a gold medalist, and there is always someone younger and hungrier than you who could have been in your spot. Mr Phelps, I am proud to have you represent my country, but I am not proud of your attitude. Tonight, you were served a slice of humble pie.

    July 29, 2012 at 5:37 am | Reply
  53. Laura Wilkens

    @ AuntyViolet: If you don't care, why are you on this thread commenting. Perhaps you should save your breath and time reading articles about things you care about. To reach the level of Olympian swimmer you must immerse yourself into it, and that takes a lot of self-discipline. It's hard for me to stomach people criticizing others, unless you perhaps are an Olympian and know that it takes?

    July 29, 2012 at 5:46 am | Reply
  54. Dashamimi

    Michael Phelps has already proved his is THE Best swimmer ever. The only way to take that away from him is for someone, trump what he did 4 years ago.

    July 29, 2012 at 5:47 am | Reply
  55. Dave

    This article is a sad attempt to create drama out of a swimming event. Congratulations to Lochte the new champion of the 400m medlay. Phelps is a great champion who has aged. It's all pretty normal.

    July 29, 2012 at 5:48 am | Reply
  56. spark55155

    Sports writers are so imaginative. To wit: "...the last chapter in what has been a captivating rivalry..."

    July 29, 2012 at 5:59 am | Reply
  57. Sara

    Give the guy a break. Both of them. Phelps deserves more than to have his name dragged through the mud, especially when it comes to swimming. He is, and always will be, one of the greatest American athletes of all time. As for Lochte, this is obviously his moment to shine. Too bad for him that NBC has chosen to make this about Phelps losing, not Lochte winning. Way to make the Olympics – what should be a shining example of pride and hope for humanity – into a negative, defeatist pain fest. You go NBC! (really, just go...)

    July 29, 2012 at 6:01 am | Reply
  58. Trevor Toivonen

    Phelps is great olympian and a true swimming champion recognised by the global community. It's a pity that the armchair experts emerge in numbers when a champion fails to perform at a major global event. Hey, the Olympic athletes are not robots, they have feelings on and off days just like you and me. So get over it and support Michael and his team mates for the next 2 weeks.

    Aussie T

    July 29, 2012 at 6:02 am | Reply
  59. Arcfontis

    Who's Michael Phelps??

    July 29, 2012 at 6:09 am | Reply
  60. Skeptik Watch

    Latynina's record will stand. He's got no more mojo.

    July 29, 2012 at 6:33 am | Reply
  61. dudley

    Everybody ages. Even Carl Lewis eventually got slower.

    Not everybody can be a Dara Torres.

    July 29, 2012 at 6:33 am | Reply
  62. Bob Hunter

    To Joe Ramos. You're pathetic! go behind the couch and cry like a baby you sore loser!

    July 29, 2012 at 7:18 am | Reply
  63. Tim

    please be noticed.... the chinese flags blocked our camera view in swimming race . They must setting up for that ... We – American people- we love our team . we support for USA team. We dont want their flags in our face !!! Tell everybody....and tell NBC to stop them ...thats not a fair play !

    July 29, 2012 at 7:27 am | Reply
  64. Allen

    Here is the thing. When these races occur, the press and the world reports on events like the athletes were machines. They have so many stats at hand, and such a good background of what has occurred, that I think some people get a bit cocky about predicting races, and creating a rivalry. But the fact of the matter is these athletes are people, people that may have a good day or bad day, people that maybe couldn't get a good night's sleep or maybe people under the weather now and then. That, overall really is what makes the Olympics fun to watch.

    Lets not rule Phelps out because he has had one bad day, and by the same token, lets stop putting so much pressure on him to succeed. Lets just watch and enjoy.

    July 29, 2012 at 7:37 am | Reply
  65. GD

    Sharkskin swimsuit is not allowed this time, I will be surprised if he can get more than 2 golds.

    July 29, 2012 at 8:04 am | Reply
  66. drutchen

    Bmesa,

    I am missing your point about Phelp's body getting older and paying the price, and it now being Lochte's time–after all, they are the same age aren't they, and have spent the same amount of time in the pool, no?

    July 29, 2012 at 8:06 am | Reply
  67. steve

    Dave – you're closer than Mary, but still not there. 5 hours ahead.

    July 29, 2012 at 8:06 am | Reply
  68. yadin fleschhut

    One should remember that going to the Olympics is a matter of representing one's country and not rivalry between players.

    July 29, 2012 at 8:46 am | Reply
  69. James

    But he STILL has accomplished more than you ever will.Let that roll around in your head for a bit.

    July 29, 2012 at 9:00 am | Reply
  70. August

    I had a witness of Phelps's moment of fantasy in beijing,I beleive he could do it again as long as he starts with a clean slate.
    Please be yourself man,I know you can do it!

    July 29, 2012 at 9:19 am | Reply
  71. Adelaide

    I want to know if Phelps has won any medal since the ban of the high tech suits..if so then it couldnt have been the suit, if not then i will have to agree that its been the suit all along!

    July 29, 2012 at 9:23 am | Reply
  72. John

    Poor old Tim and his phobia about Chinese Flags,funniest thing I've read all day.An American moaning about another countries supporters being obnoxious...3 words....pot kettle black...

    July 29, 2012 at 9:25 am | Reply
  73. AdeC

    Wow you talk about Phelps as if he has been beaten into the ground! He came fourth and has done America very proud! Shut up and stop the BS

    July 29, 2012 at 10:14 am | Reply
  74. suleiman

    Go on Phelps and prove the haters wrong!

    July 29, 2012 at 11:13 am | Reply
  75. jane

    oh my god, which nitwit said that Great Britain has a12 hour time difference with the U.S.? From NY it's 5 hours and from CA 8 hours. When will Americans learn there is another non-American world out there!!

    July 29, 2012 at 11:23 am | Reply
  76. Belle

    12 hour time difference? More like 5 from est, 6 from cst, and 8 from the pacific.

    July 29, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Reply
  77. Freddo

    For those who followed Phelps' prep more closely will know that this was going to be prob his worst event. His coach at some point mentioned their tranning would focus more on the 200m IM, 100/200m butterfly comming into these Olympics.
    Surprised nothing about this was mentioned on the media though... So perhaps this result wouldn't be as surprising as apparently was.
    I'm sure he'll do much better on his next events.
    He's an amazing athlete

    July 29, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  78. drutchen

    Bmesa,

    I am missing your point about Phelp's body getting older and paying the price, and it now being Lochte's time–after all, they are the same age aren't they, and have spent the same amount of time in the pool, no?

    July 29, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Reply
  79. Cyndi C

    Just like his idol Michael Jordan, he has failed to reach his mark. I think he will rebound and win some gold, but even if he doesn't, he will still be the one who won all the gold at the Olympics, as one of the greatest atheletes, of our times, just like his Jordan. I still hold Phelps in the highest regard, as should all Americans, and the world.

    July 29, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Reply
  80. SuperEdge29

    Go Phelps! <3

    July 29, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Reply
  81. barbara

    One of the reasons Lochte trained so hard was to beat Phelps. there wasn't anyone for Phelps to try to beat.... though I don't think it ever occured to him that he wouldn't place in his first event. He still has other events. But I think everyone should focus on Lochte more. Maybe Phelps was just off. It's hard to sustain the kind of energy level that he did in the other olympics.... I hate NBC's coverage. Too many stupid interviews in the studio. Just cover the events as they happen!

    July 29, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Reply
  82. Y

    Lets hope that we won't read any news about the discovery of doping to any of the past winners who can't perform now without doping. Seriously hope so. Lets also hope there's no doping to current Olympians. It's a disgrace greater than not winning any medals.

    July 29, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Reply
  83. bradfox

    Its a shame the media are focusing on Phelps poor performance, rather than Lochte's great victory. The ups and downs are what makes competitive sport at this level so fascinating. Well done Lochte.

    July 29, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Reply
  84. joe

    One loss and everybody thinks that michael Phelps doesnt have it anymore. Mark my words. Michael phelps will win at least three gold medals.

    July 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  85. Paul F Davis

    Phelps will be back when he commits and focuses with the same undivided intensity he had when he was a nobody that led him to victory and earning 8 gold medals in 2008.

    July 29, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Reply
  86. Paul Zimmerman

    Phelp's body getting older,like USA.

    July 29, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Reply
  87. spudboy

    so coming in 4th is a bad thing? Being in the top 4 is a real accomplishment. it would be hard if not impossible to repeat the last Olympic performance...

    July 29, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Reply
  88. OkayMan

    Mr. Michael Phelps, I am an American and you aint got nothing else you need to prove. Your performance up to this date has been miraculous. Buddy enjoy the games and puff one for granny when you get home.

    July 29, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Reply
  89. Just relax

    In recent interviews, Michael Phelps has seemed uncaring about the outcome of the Olympics. His body language and attitude tell his story – I'm tired of swimming and I just want to rest on my laurels, but my Mom made me come to just one more O-games.

    Let the guy finish and go home to relax like he obviously wants to.

    July 29, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Reply
  90. BEN NZERIBE

    Phelp is an icon. Please give him credit for what he has done in the field of smimming. Think about Tiger Wood (golf), Mike Tyson (boxing), Micheal Jordan (basketball), and Pete Sampres (tennis), these guys at one point were untouable but there is always someone somewhere waiting for their turn to set a record. Please judge Phleps at end of the remaining six events left for him. As of today he is still the greatest swimmer ever lived.

    July 29, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Reply
  91. BEN NZE

    Phelp still rule the world of swimming despite one set back. He will definitely bounce back.

    July 29, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Reply
  92. John

    He did better than Ryan today...

    July 29, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Reply
  93. Lisa

    This is the second article I've read on CNN that specifically mentions the loser of the competition, and how horrible things are for them. Must we always focus on the negatives? Can't CNN simply acknoweldge the wonderful accomplishments of these athletes as well as those who did succeed? The spirit of the Olympics is supposed to be positive, cheering on the underdog! The underdogs are winning, can we cheer them on please?

    July 29, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Reply
  94. Glenda

    B. MESA-You said it all!

    July 29, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Reply
  95. ufadoof

    @GB July 28th, 2012 11:39 pm ET:
    "Phelps acted like a little spoiled brat after all the glory. Now he's getting a rude awakening that he's not invencible like he had thought."

    GB How many Olympic gold medals do you have again? Zero. With zero chance of winning one. Arm chair atletes are a dime a dozen.
    Phelps is easily the greatest swimmer of all time. AND arguably the greatest Olympic athlete ever compete. Period.

    You sir are an idiot.

    July 29, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Reply
  96. bongoman55

    Michael would have done well even if does not win another. Forbs said he eaened $46m over time. I do not think he will be in the soup line comes what may. His legacy is intact. It would be nice if he can gross the 18 medals to set the all time record and come home!!

    July 29, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Reply
  97. Mona

    These 'rivalries' are nothing more than made up crap by the media to stir the public. I am sure that this is not the END for Michale Phelps. Nor do I think that he and Ryan sit around thinking about it much. They are both extremely gifted athletes who are doing their best to win. Period.

    July 30, 2012 at 1:05 am | Reply
  98. JANE P

    Phelps & Lochte both are the best in the world

    July 30, 2012 at 1:11 am | Reply
  99. Faiyaz

    Let's not tear Phelps off of the pedestal and put Lochte on in his stead after just one 2012 Olympics race. Perhaps Phelps hadn't gotten enough sleep the night before or had the runs and was recovering or something. . . Who knows? Let's wait a few more races before passing the verdict that Phelps is done.

    July 30, 2012 at 1:50 am | Reply
  100. uselessphelps

    i am not sure why this useless arrogant phelps is even being allowed to play! he should have been banned.

    July 30, 2012 at 2:16 am | Reply
  101. Doc

    I'm an 80+ y/o guy who swam for Indiana University many years ago, 20 years before Mark Spitz, whom I knew, and the Doc Councilman era.

    Mark and Michael Phelps would have lapped me in any 400 meter event; look at the times in the record book. Doc C changed competitive swimming through his physiological training methods, and as a result, Mark and now Michael and Ryan, have been able to push their bodies to feats beyond what we ever imagined. I remember when Alan Ford of Yale was the first human to get under 50 seconds in the 100 YARD (not meters) freestyle (1947); no, I was not among those who then seemed to lower it every day.

    I went on to train in surgery, long days and nights then, off duty only every other night. But, that did not take the physical expenditure and the psychological commitment required in the training that led to my becoming the best I could be, just a slightly better than average Big Ten freestyle swimmer.

    After schooling and specialty training, I became pretty good at what I did, becoming a professor and then a vice president of a research and teaching institution.

    But, I have no medals, bronze, silver, or gold. Because I'm only a little better than the other doc. But Michael Phelps, Bryan Lochte, and everyone of those who qualified for the Games, they're not a little better, they're the world's best, physically, intellectually, and emotionally.

    The ignorant comments of some here who cannot know what it takes to become a world class athlete, or even a fair professor of surgery, are totally unwarranted and reflect upon the maker's own feelings of inadequacy.

    July 30, 2012 at 3:38 am | Reply
  102. pramok

    Fallen heroes should quit in time... give new players the passage to emulate the old record....... when one medal is enough for an achievement and glory why hunt further than 14 gold ... let it go Mike... take a break....... give youngsters their due..... promok

    July 30, 2012 at 3:49 am | Reply
  103. Tiggler

    There are far too many swimming events. As a result 8 golds in swimming are worth less than 3 in track and field. We don't have running backwards, running sideways, and running with both feet tied together, so we should only have freestyle swimming: whatever gets you there fastest.

    July 30, 2012 at 6:13 am | Reply
  104. Joe King

    Who cares? its just swimming. Its not like you swim everyday.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:59 am | Reply
  105. Larry_Rollins

    Phelps had a GREAT career.

    If he's getting old and doesn't want to work so hard anymore, that's his choice. His body has been under an amazing amount of stress, and you sometimes need a break...

    If anyone wants his spot on the swim team, they will have it, when they swim better times than him.

    July 30, 2012 at 8:33 am | Reply
  106. Larry_Rollins

    Dudes got well formed tricepts.

    July 30, 2012 at 8:36 am | Reply
  107. Richard

    Michael Phelps will not win a Medal at the London Olympics 2012

    http://www.guessn.com/guessn/michael-phelps-will-not-win-a-medal-at-the-london-olympics-2012

    July 30, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Reply
  108. Bayo

    ZZzzzz... so he's through... next

    July 30, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Reply
  109. David Beau

    Auntie, your snobbery is evident. Don't denigrate the hard work of these athletes. Obviously if you are reading and commenting on these posts you are not contributing to neuroscience either

    July 30, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Reply
  110. shakirzareen

    It is called sports. Not conquest.

    People win and loose. Some make history (Phelps did that well).

    + Age and Pride are two things which slowly weaken a man.

    We cant expect someone to stay on top for many many years.

    Long live the legacy of Phelps. He is a blessed person. But there are billions of other people who equally deserve such blessings (I am not trying to lessen the importance of hard work here). Phelps gave the world a few could give. Now it is turn of others to carry on.

    July 30, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  111. Zez

    phelps has to stop doing drugs

    July 30, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Reply
  112. moo

    Noooooooooope nht in 2012

    July 30, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Reply
  113. arkansasfan07

    He should shave his hair...

    July 30, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Reply
  114. Bec215

    Phelps coach admitted in a pre-Olympics interview Phelps had not done the same rigorous training he did prior to the last Olympics – but the fact he placed 4th in one single event, and everyone is sounding the death knell for his swimming career is ridiculous! He remains a great swimmer, capable of beating 99% of swimmers in the water. He also is human – and he admitted after the last olympics he became depressed and lost, like many before him who spent their lives chasing a dream, and once accomplished, were left with the cold reality of "what now?"

    Bravo to him for getting his stuff together and making a go of it, despite the overwhelming scruitiny of the media and unrelenting expectations of an unforgiving public. This is not a reality show, and there are no villians.... just athletes doing what they do best.

    July 30, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Reply
  115. Aaron

    He didn't train well enough for this go-around and I don't mean physically. I don't think his heart or head is in it. It could be he's just done.

    He had a good run abu it's hard to be a champion.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Reply
  116. Hork

    Lochte is an ass. The whole thing with the grille in his mouth acting like he's from the hood. The guy has no humility, saying he should be winner of all races. He never thanks anyone. I like Phelps, he appears to be a humble guy and doesn't boast about his amazing abilities...

    What does Phelps have to prove? He's done it all.

    Oh! Nice swim Lochte in the 4 x 100... Oh it's not your specialty?! Didn't you just win the 400m IM? You had a huge fricken lead!!!

    July 30, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Reply
  117. Kung Pao Squid

    Perhaps it is a pot-induced memory lapse: was I here, wasn't I just here, what am I doing here, am I swimming, am I in a pool, what year is it .... "I could have been a contender."

    July 31, 2012 at 1:08 am | Reply
  118. RMM

    Michael Phelps is a legion in his sport and deserves all the credit due to him for his achievements to date..Fair play to any fellow country men trying to compete with Michael which shows his inspiration to others .Let us all take a look at ourselves especially those that are the prime critics, to comprehend what type of life and psychical effort needed to get to this level (and don't have a bad day).2 more medals and Michael will be the Ultimate Olympian .Show them how it's done

    July 31, 2012 at 2:05 am | Reply
  119. DBlock

    News...

    Record Broken! # 19 BABY!

    http://www.espn.com for verification

    July 31, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Reply
  120. Donah..//

    Let´s face it... it´s over for Michael Phelps... he´s gettint a bit too OLD.... Sure he WAS good... and he still IZZZ but the game is over for Mike... He
    ´s been beaten over and over and over... lately (this Olympic) and only got his 19th for being 1/4th of the team... There are others Mike... there are OTHERS.... !! And I can say that Mike..!! At 90 I can say that... I was good in my prime... nobody was near... but that lasted only.... HOW LONG ??
    Donah..// (From the GripeVine....)

    August 1, 2012 at 5:14 am | Reply
  121. Donah..//

    Nobody is a "legend" except in the eyes of his friends and "pushers"... Take it from this Ol´ So´n So who´s been around for 90 x 4 x 13 x 7 x 24 x 60 x 60 secs (plus) on this Planet "Mother Earth" and hasn´t given up yet..

    So if you have a quarrel...
    go some place else and have a ball....

    Donah..//

    August 1, 2012 at 5:25 am | Reply
  122. MIchle Khoury

    Amanda Davies of CNN should know not to be biased and give personal opinions She is a reporter and should act like one, and be proffesional. Her reporting of Yi Shewen was disgusting. How about waiting for the results of the dope testing before you accuse and destroy a young athletes life, I found her reporting offensive and if the doping tests come back clear I would like to see her on CNN apologising.

    August 2, 2012 at 8:54 am | Reply
  123. JackyWong

    WooWoo.This guy performs more normally this game. The last two games he shows "non human" feats. As a coach of swimming for 30+
    years, his performance leaves me in doubt. (too many questions needed to be asked.) Is it "American science " results, or is he a genius of cheating like Ben Johnson or he is just another American Frankenstein in sports.

    August 3, 2012 at 8:56 am | Reply
  124. Sarah

    Love reading all these ridiculous remarks - now that Phelps has won his 21st medal - his third individual gold of these games. Why does everyone want to tear him down? His a good swimmer, certainly the most decorated swimmer, and Olympian, of all time. I'm proud to be watching him change the sport. So why does his success intimidate you?

    August 4, 2012 at 4:24 am | Reply
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  126. phelps

    Honestly, he has nothing to prove. If I was him, I wouldn't give a damn about the media or anybody else. He set a record both in Olympic and individual terms that will take decades for someone to beat a 22 Medals win in Olympics so far! People always judge others as it is a piece of cake to swim. None of you YES none of you can achieve what he has done. For people who said he won't get any medals in London 2012, ha ha he already got a few medals. Keep sleeping. He is not Terminator! Of course he will loose some day! I don't know anybody in the world that keeps winning until they die! It drives me nuts when kids get happy/whine when some record breaking guy loose. Same with any the American Basketball team. Lol take a look at the statictics and see how many times USA beat any country from the world and them beating USA. Yeah, they own the sport pretty much in ALMOST every area if not all sports in Olympics! Look how many medals they got so far in all Olympics. 2000 plus and the closest is Russia 1000+/. You will never be able to beat the statistics of what USA athletes achieved. It will take centuries to close the medal gap of 1000! EU guys thought the best cyclist was some Belgian guy with 5 tour de france champions in history until Lance came and got 7 in a row and after beating cancer. Let's talk about tennis. Williams owns almost anyone. Today Sharapova was whooped pretty pretty hard in the ... by her. USA lead in many sports weather you like it or not! PERIOD! This was written by a non AMERICAN bty! Keep hating and being jealous about USA. It won't do any good to you...

    August 5, 2012 at 12:53 am | Reply
  127. Nick932

    Negativity does not go to the mountains; it goes to people that need cure.

    August 5, 2012 at 2:25 am | Reply
  128. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Michael Phelps is surely the greatest swimmer we have been privileged to watch in our life time. Hearty congratulations to him.

    August 12, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Reply

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