Before facing off against longtime friend and rival Michael Phelps in the 200-meter individual medley at the Rio Olympics Thursday night, Ryan Lochte got a bit sentimental about their last Olympic showdown.
The U.S. swimmer (who is known for his changing appearance as well as his swimming abilities) posted a photo on Instagram (below) of himself and Phelps preparing for the race that the two of them have dominated for more than a decade. "One last time! #USA #longjourney #12years," Lochte captioned the 'gram of them sitting in matching inflatable rescue floats and digging into their carb-packed pre-race meals.
Between them, Lochte and Phelps have won the 200 I.M. at 13 of the last 14 major international meets, while Phelps has taken gold in the event in the past four Olympics. Come race time on Thursday, Lochte managed to hold the lead for the first 100 meters, but ended up finishing fifth. Phelps took home the gold, yet again.
Fifth place seems to have left a bad taste in Lochte's mouth, however, because on Today Friday morning he told Matt Lauer that although he plans to take a break from swimming, we can expect to find him back in the pool at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo Japan. And he expects Phelps to be there too.
"You know what, I can definitely say that, because I guarantee he will be there,'' he told Lauer. "I think so. I really think so. So Michael, I'll see you in Tokyo."
"(Phelps is) definitely an inspiration, just what he's accomplished in the sport,'' Lochte went on to say. "He brings the best out of me, and hopefully I can say the same for him. The rivalry that we've created and that friendship, I'm definitely going to cherish it for the rest of my life."
Phelps and Lochte will be 35 and 36 years old, respectively, for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Will they actually make it that far? We'll have to just wait and see.