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And there's Phelps and Lochte.
Heading into London, the rivalry between these two Olympic swimmers has not only been fierce, but it has also been incredibly prominent. From the U.S. to the U.K., all eyes are on these two swimmers, who offer the best rivalry to follow in the 2012 London Games.
If this is the first time you are hearing of the rivalry between Michael Phelps, the winningest swimmer of all time, and Ryan Lochte, his U.S. teammate, competitor and the man that has been living in his shadow since Beijing, then clearly you are living under a rock.
The Phelps-Lochte rivalry has been all that people can talk about ever since the two had their first post-Olympic faceoff, a meet that saw Lochte finally beat the gold-medal-winning Olympian.
After Beijing, Lochte began to work harder. He took his training more seriously and ultimately saw better results in the pool. In the years following the 2008 Olympics, Lochte became the best swimmer in the world, setting numerous world records and winning several meets and World Championships.
Phelps took a few years off after Beijing but was ready to return to the pool just in time to prepare for the U.S. Nationals and Olympic Trials. After being beaten by Lochte at the 2011 World Championships, Phelps realized that his U.S. competitor was going to be the one to beat in London. He came into the U.S. Olympic Trials with a renewed sense of purpose and, after losing his first race to Lochte, came back to win the next two head-to-head matchups.
In London, Phelps will be tackling seven events, while Lochte is slated to swim in five, maybe six. Two of the events—team relays—could see the two on the same side of the coin, working to bring the U.S. yet another relay gold. Two other events, however—the 200- and 400-meter individual medleys—will put these two to the ultimate test.
Four years ago, the podium was simple for these two events: Lochte would get the silver; Phelps the gold. This year, however, it is anyone's guess who will stand atop the Olympic podium. Both are just about neck-and-neck, as they will be in their Olympic races.
Phelps got one of his eight golds in a relay in which both he and Lochte swam, when their teammate out-touched the French opponent by a mere fingertip, the equivalent of a hundredth of a second. In London, if it is even possible, Phelps and Lochte's races could be even closer than that.
If any two competitors can put on an electric battle, it is these two. That is why their rivalry will be absolutely can't-miss in London.