Friday, December 23, 2011

USA Today: "Ryan Lochte loves racing Michael Phelps, ready for challenge"

UPDATED: to fixed typos and explain myself better.

How many times have we heard that phrase, "...loves racing Michael Phelps"...? I sort of forget that Lochte felt that way after the first 30-times I heard this "mantra" but by the 50th-time-or-so, it began to sink in.

Why is Ryan Lochte always repeating that he "...loves to race Phelps?" We have been hearing that as far back as 2008 and we all know it is true. We categorically knew it was true when we watched the two race each other in the 400 IM in Beijing. We also know it is sincere and we do feel how hungry he is to do it too.

It's as if Lochte is a young gunslinger who is looking for Phelps in the streets of "Dodge City" to prove he is the best in the west. It's as if he wants to be known as the gunslinger that had a quicker draw, a faster shot, and thereby replaced Phelps as the "new sheriff in town." With all the cowboy metaphors out of the way, I suspect there is an economic interest to all of this as well.

By intertwining his destiny with the best swimmer ever in the media interviews, I suspect that this is presumably a PR ploy by his handlers so as to "draft" off of Phelps' name recognition, his stellar accomplishments, and thereby potentially get him a bigger post Olympic paycheck if Lochte can defeat him.

Do I think he will beat Phelps? I don't know, but the odds favor Phelps since I suspect he will be swimming a less demanding program than he did in Beijing. My premise is that Phelps has handlers too and his London Olympics is not about accomplishment anymore but rather legacy. If he so chose to ignore Lochte and just swam the 100-fly, 200 fly, and a medley-relay, their would be no "gunfight" and Phelps would finish off his Olympic career unbeaten in two consecutive Olympics thus remaining "the fastest gun alive"

From USA Today:

Lochte beat Phelps in their two common events at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai, the 200 free and the 200 IM, en route to five golds, compared to four for Phelps. Neither has confirmed which races they hope to swim in London.

"I'm in the perfect shape that I've ever been in in my entire life," Lochte said. "I want it really bad. It might not seem like it right now, but come when the time's right, I'll be ready."
"The guy's got his eyes on some big prizes," Busch said, "so just watch him go." 


Steve Munatones said...

Great swimmers like Lochte and Phelps rarely get to truly challenge themselves against their peers during their long, long, long daily workouts. They are just too good. Few can keep up with Lochte or Phelps in a workout, especially when they are working on their specialties. Assume they both go 10,000 meters per day and workout 300 days per year (a very conservative estimate). That is a minimum of 1,864 miles of training without truly being pushed. Then, a few times per year, they get to race a few 200s (and 400s) where they can put it all together. That is got to be fun, a real treat for athletes of that caliber. Similar to Larry Bird and Magic Johnson facing off against one another or like Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in the ring, like Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer facing pressure in front of worldwide audiences, the best bring out the best in each other. Mano-a-mano, head-to-head, one-on-one, it is the purest form of athletics and a genuine measure of greatest. This is why I think Ryan sincerely likes it so much. It is my guess that such comments are less spin than a deep-rooted desire inherent in Ryan's competitive DNA.

Tony Austin said...

I know that his feelings are honest and for real. I just just suspect the handlers of both individuals see dollar signs in their eyes.