Meet 2016 US Olympian Ryan Lochte from Daytona Beach, FL, who will be make his 4th Olympic appearance at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games this summer. In his video, Lochte talks about his memories of one of his first swim meets, when his mom handed him a water bottle that he soon found out was filled with candy.
From his bio:
Ryan Steven Lochte has become one of the most recognizable faces of swimming, overtaking the media’s attention leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and hanging on to it with an iron fist. The 11-time Olympic medalist is known for working hard and playing harder. Skilled in long course and short course competition, Lochte holds world records in the 100 (SC), 200 (LC and SC), and 400 (SC) individual medleys, and shares the 4×200-meter free relay record with Ricky Berens, Dave Walters, and Michael Phelps.
Though Lochte was born in upstate New York, his family moved to Gainesville, Fla. when he was 5, so that his father, Steven, could continue to coach swimming. While under the aquatic tutelage of both parents – his mother was also a coach – Lochte goofed off in practice and gravitated toward land sports such as basketball and skateboarding. It wasn’t until the beginning of high school, when he placed second at Junior Olympics rather than first, that Lochte put his game face on. He has played the up-and-coming underdog ever since.
Lochte’s game face has many masks. His most common ensemble is that of a carefree, sun-kissed swimmer’s version of a rockstar, or rap star, as his favorite (now trademarked) phrase, “Jeah,” might suggest. Despite his original dislike of swimming, Lochte is now an Olympic champion, starred briefly in his own reality TV show, and has often been named the flashy, fun companion of his sometimes-friend and most-times rival, Michael Phelps.
But Lochte likes to be defined separately from the butterfly legend. Even without Phelps as a neutral comparison, Lochte has carved a reputation for himself as one of swimming’s most colorful characters. He named his dog, Carter, after the given name of his favorite rap artist, Lil Wayne. He designed his own green, rhinestone-encrusted shoes, owns several grills (precious metal retainers whose sole purpose is to display one’s swag), and used to wear his pink briefs for Friday races at off-season meets in homage to Nicki Minaj’s “Pink Friday.” But, beneath all the play, Lochte’s intentions remain the same: to beat the odds and to be the best. Even wearing briefs, rather than the racing jammers typically worn at meets, proves Lochte’s dedication to pushing himself to the next level.
2004 OLYMPIC GAMES
In the pool, Lochte was initially heralded as a backstroke and mid-distance freestyle champion, but under the tutelage of University of Florida’s Gregg Troy, he expanded his abilities and was recognized as NCAA Swimmer of the Year twice. During his college career, he qualified for his first Olympics in 2004. At trials, he met and raced against Michael Phelps, a competitor whose shadow Lochte would struggle to escape for many years to come. Lochte qualified second to Phelps, starting a trend that added to Lochte’s underdog mentality.
At the Athens Olympic Games, Lochte achieved his first individual medal in the 200 I.M., once again second to Phelps. He also teamed up with Phelps, Klete Keller, and Peter Vanderkaay to win the 4×200-meter freestyle relay against the formidable Australian team, which included Ian “the Thorpedo” Thorpe. The relay team repeated the feat the following summer at the 2005 World Championships. Meanwhile, still a strong short course swimmer, Lochte competed at Short Course World Championships. In 2007, Lochte finished his senior year at University of Florida, after majoring in sports management, but continued to swim under Troy’s supervision.
2008 OLYMPIC GAMES
That summer, Lochte broke his first long-course world record in the 200-meter backstroke at World Championships. The next year, he won his first individual Olympic gold medal in the same event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Although he qualified for three individual events in Beijing and medaled in all of them, even in the face of a grueling double, Lochte was frustrated with himself for contracting a stomach bug that hampered his performance. The mishap fueled his urge to fully access his potential.
Over the following four years, Lochte began to accrue a large share of international meet titles. In 2009, he dominated the I.M. events at World Championships, breaking Michael Phelps’ 200 I.M. record. He also anchored the highly anticipated 4×200 free relay, slipping under the world record line by one one-hundredth of a second. The following year, Lochte had several breakthroughs in short course competition, especially during the Short Course World Championships in Dubai, where he earned seven medals, more than any athlete had ever won at SC Worlds. After his efforts were recognized by a number of organizations, Lochte dedicated many of his awards to his friend, Fran Crippen, an open water swimmer who died during a competition in October.
Leading up to the 2012 Olympics, Lochte drew some attention for his unorthodox dry-land workouts lead by trainer Matt DeLancey. He tossed buckets, dragged tires, and jump-roped with chains, while his counterparts criticized him for replacing essential yardage with strength conditioning. However, he raised the bar and shattered his underdog title at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai, where he took home six medals – five gold and a bronze. In both the 200-meter freestyle and 200 I.M., Lochte blew away Michael Phelps, to whom he had been compared on multiple occasions during and after the Beijing Olympics. While at first he had enjoyed the publicity and the discussion of their friendly rivalry, increasingly, Lochte strove to separate himself from Phelps in the public eye, both in his swimming performance and in his media presentation.
2012 OLYMPIC GAMES
At 2012 Olympic Trials, Lochte qualified for four individual events and was offered a spot on both freestyle relays. On the first day of competition in London, h
e faced off against Phelps in the dreaded 400 I.M. Lochte left his rival behind. Willing to face the pain, he swam a double with a 30-minute turnaround, earning a bronze medal in the 200 back, behind Tyler Clary and Japan’s Ryosuke Irie, and silver in the 200 I.M
., behind Phelps. With Phelps planning to retire at the end of the meet, the I.M. was their last competitive swim. At the end of the Olympics, Lochte had amassed 11 medals in total. He has 7 individual Olympic medals, the second-highest number of individual medals earned by a male Olympian, topped only by Phelps.