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Lochte takes over worlds with eight total medals

Updated: 2012-12-18 08:02
By Agencies in Istanbul ( China Daily)

 Lochte takes over worlds with eight total medals

Ryan Lochte of the US competes during his victory in the men's 100m individual medley at the world short-course championships in Istanbul on Saturday. Mira / Agence France-Presse

American swimmer claims six golds in dominant performance in Istanbul

Ryan Lochte completed a six-gold dominance of the world short-course championships on Sunday before revealing that a childhood snub by a sporting legend inspires him to give away all of his medals.

The 28-year-old New Yorker clinched his fifth and sixth gold medals of the week when he won the 100m medley and anchored the US 4x100 medley relay team to victory. The result matched his medal total from the last championships, in Dubai in 2010.

His career short-course total now stands at 30 medals, including 20 gold.

The American's prowess in the pool in Turkey was matched by his generosity out of the water after he revealed he gives all of his medals away.

"I remember when I was a kid I was looking up to this superstar, an Olympian. I'm not going to mention his name, but I asked him for an autograph and he said no," Lochte said. "I was 8 years old and I was crushed. He wasn't even concentrating or preparing, he was just in an elevator.

"I went back to the hotel room and my parents asked me, 'So? Did you get the autograph?'. I told him he said no and I remember telling my parents that if one day I ever get there in the same position, I'll do it."

Lochte won the 100m individual medley, a day after he broke the world record in the event. The five-time Olympic champion finished in 51.21 seconds, ahead of Kenneth To of Australia and George Bovell III of Trinidad and Tobago.

To started well and led at the halfway mark. He held off Lochte over the breaststroke leg, but the American accelerated in the freestyle to move ahead.

Lochte then joined Matthew Grevers, Kevin Cordes and Thomas Shields to win the 4x100 medley relay in 3:21.03, with Russia second and Australia third. Lochte's time of 45.22 was the fastest on the team.

He also won silver in the 200m backstroke.

Lochte takes over worlds with eight total medals

"All the races I have done last week are starting to catch up," he said. "But it is the last day of the tournament and there is always something left in the tank."

Radoslaw Kawecki of Poland beat Lochte and said he deployed the same tactics as his rival.

"We both wanted to wait until the final 50-75 meters and start pushing really hard. I am happy I came out on top and proved that I was better prepared than Lochte," Kawecki said, adding it felt "great to be better than a world-record holder".

Lochte broke the world record in the 100m IM with a time of 50.71 in the semifinals on Saturday, eclipsing the mark set by Peter Mankoc of Slovenia in December 2009. On Friday, the American broke the world record in the 200m IM.

Lochte, a five-time Olympic champion, and the heir to the now-retired Michael Phelps, the greatest Olympian of all time, is the only swimmer in history to win eight medals at the same world short-course championships.

"I swim in a bunch of races, but that's what I train for. I like change and that's why I want to do everything," said Lochte.

"For me, this is fun in the sport of swimming. I train for everything. I push my body to limits other athletes are afraid of. That's why I am able to swim two races in 30 minutes."

The United States ended the five-day championships with 27 medals, 11 of which were gold, ahead of China with 11 medals including three gold. China ranked second in the medal tally with three gold medals, five silvers and three bronzes.

Hungary was third with a 10-medal tally, three of which were gold.

(China Daily 12/18/2012 page23)

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