“I don’t want people to think I didn’t care about the medals,” Lochte told NBC Sports. “I cherish them, but they’re just sitting in my closet collecting dust. … I feel amazing about [the auction] just because I’m going to be helping kids out.”
The 37-year-old Lochte has worked with the Jorge Nation Foundation for more than a decade. His agent also serves on the organization’s board of directors.
Lochte’s two bronze medals from the 2008 Beijing Olympics are currently bidding at $14,150 on RR Auction, above the $12,000 estimate. His two silvers and a bronze from the 2012 London Olympics are currently going for $8,054, and his silver from the 2004 Athens Olympics is at $2,796. Bidding ends July 21.
Lochte says he will likely put some of his six Olympic gold medals up for auction, too, at some point. However, he plans to keep his first individual Olympic gold medal from the 2008 Olympic 200-meter backstroke.
His 12 Olympic medals match Natalie Coughlin, Jenny Thompson, and Dara Torres for second-most among swimmers behind Michael Phelps’ 28. Four of Lochte’s six silver and bronze medals came from races that Phelps won.
At domestic meets in the past, Lochte often gave away medals to children.
“I never kept any medal,” Lochte said, including his 27 World Championships medals, which are second all-time behind Phelps. “I’m not the one to keep memorabilia.”
Lochte also told NBC Sports that he hasn’t ruled out the option of returning to competitive swimming in the future. He hasn’t competed in a top-level meet since missing the Tokyo Olympic squad.