Istanbul: Olympic star Ryan Lochte won two gold medals on Wednesday as the United States dominated the first day of the short-course world championships.
The American posted a time of 1 minute, 41.92 seconds in the 200-meter freestyle event at the Sinan Erdem Dome. Paul Biedermann of Germany, the world record holder, finished second in 1:42.07, while Conor Dwyer of the United States was third in 1:43.78.
Lochte earned another gold in the 4x100 freestyle relay with teammates Anthony Ervin, James Feigen and Matt Grevers, finishing in 3:06.40. The Italians, who were fastest in the heats, won silver in 3:07.07, followed by Australia in 3:07.27.
Lochte won six gold medals and one silver when Dubai hosted the short-course championships in 2010. He won five medals at the London Olympics, including two gold.
Lochte believes that despite Michael Phelps’ retirement he might not be done after all. So when he said he’d retired from Olympic competition after London, he didn’t waver.
“The sport will miss him,” Lochte said. “He is one of my favourite rivals, and I will miss him. But I think he will come back.
“When you do something for so long every day ... he’s still young. I think he will be back for Rio. We’ll see. He’ll miss the sport.”
Perhaps yes, perhaps no. Phelps has insisted he wants to live a “normal” life, or what passes for one after spending four Olympics as one of the most recognizable athletes on the planet.
But as Michael Jordan, Brett Favre and pretty much every boxer who ever fought can tell you, walking away from the cheers is no easy task. Thing is, the pool waits for no one, not even Phelps. While he was impressive in London, he wasn’t as dominant as he’d been in past years. And both motivation and ability for the relentless training necessary to beat the best wanes over time.
Phelps has always insisted he was done, but records say, he’s six months younger than LeBron James. Granted, swimming and basketball require two different types of physical and mental dedication, but it's not out of the question for Phelps to take a shot at qualifying for Rio. (Agencies)