Ryan Lochte Becomes 2nd Most Decorated Male Olympic Swimmer In History


Swimming on the American 800 free relay that won gold last night, four-time Olympian Ryan Lochte surpassed Mark Spitz to stand alone as the 2nd most decorated male Olympic swimmer in history, trailing only his good buddy Michael Phelps.

Lochte won his 12th career medal, passing Spitz’s eleven. Phelps is well ahead of the pack, now at 25 all-time medals.

Not only did Lochte surpass Spitz, but he joined a group of three American women who also have twelve career Olympic swimming medals. He ties Jenny ThompsonDara Torres and Natalie Coughlin who all amassed twelve medals over their illustrious careers as well.

Phelps and Lochte teamed up to help the American men win the 800 free relay for the fourth consecutive Olympics, the longest winning streak in that race since the Americans won five straight from 1960-1976.

In terms of his rank among Olympic medalists of all sports, Lochte now sits in a tie for 8th with eight other athletes (though he’s officially ranked 13th based off gold medal count). His six Olympic golds tie him for 18th all-time in that respect.

Lochte is of course swimming a much lighter schedule than we have seen from him in the past, actually swimming the same two races here in Rio that he did in his Olympic debut back in 2004. He won the 800 free relay here like he did in Athens, now let’s see if he can do one better than his silver medal performance from twelve years ago.

Lochte has won four consecutive World Championship titles in the 200 IM, but has never won Olympic gold. The man who has stood in his way will look to do it for one more time here, and that’s Phelps.

The 200 IM preliminaries begin this morning.

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Naya Missy
7 years ago

I secretly hope both Lochte and Phelps would tie for gold… As little chance as that may be, that would be AWESOME.

Reply to  Naya Missy
7 years ago

I hope they make separate semifinals and then finger wag each other. That would be hilarious.

ice age swimmer
7 years ago

I LOVE Phelps, but will be rooting for Lochte to win the IM gold. I guess if I had to put money on it, I’d bet on Phelps. I know Japan will offer stiff competition too. Gonna be exciting!

Reply to  ice age swimmer
7 years ago

As much as I want a Lochte victory in the IM, I predict a bronze based on his lack luster freestyle performance and the trajectory he has had in this race at major meets since 2012.
He will need to dig deep!

7 years ago

Before everyone hijacks this thread into a “Conger should’ve been on the relay” buzzkill, remember Lochte earned the medal regardless of his swim in the finals. Let’s focus on what an incredible career he’s had.

I’m primarily grateful for Lochte for helping to keep interest in U.S. men’s swimming during the Phelps retirement years, and for always stepping up at PanPacs and Worlds when others weren’t prepared because they were “off” years.

Reply to  swimdoc
7 years ago

Thank you, my sentiment exactly. Except for this swim, Lochte has swam 1.44s and 1.45s in this relay every year at the major meets since 08.

Also he has split several 47 highs in the 100 relay at these meets when our US sprinters fell short.

Incredible career!

Brad Flood
Reply to  swimdoc
7 years ago

Ditto, Thanks swimdoc, we’ll stated.

7 years ago

My personal views on that hair aside, I don’t think I’d ever dye my hair “silver” at an Olympics (especially if I had legitimate aspirations and shots at gold)… just sayin.

Reply to  Weez
7 years ago

It’s white

Reply to  Gramps
7 years ago

I think it’s actually supposed to be blue lol

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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