Olympics

Ryan Lochte: I’d be Michael Phelps of swimming if it wasn’t for him

Olympic gold medalists Ryan Lochte, speaks to reporters at a news conference, May 12,2016, to preview Arena Pro Swim Series at Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center.
Olympic gold medalists Ryan Lochte, speaks to reporters at a news conference, May 12,2016, to preview Arena Pro Swim Series at Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center. rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

In an interview taped by NBC before he changed his hair color, reporter David Feherty asks Ryan Lochte how he felt about swimming in the Michael Phelps era and Lochte gave a surprisingly honest answer:

“My career would definitely be different,” Lochte said. “I guess you would say I would be the Michael Phelps of swimming if he wasn’t there. But at the same time, I love a challenge, and that’s why I do the events that I do and going up against him is a challenge.”

You can see the entire interview here.

But it’s not as though Lochte has had an underwhelming career. He is a 12-time Olympic medalist -- including six gold medals -- and he’ll swim for gold again, with Phelps in the field, in the men’s 200-meter IM final at the Olympics Thursday night at 10 p.m.

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