• London Olympics 2012

Phelps misses out on medals as Lochte dominates

ESPN staff
July 28, 2012

Ryan Lochte made a statement of intent in the Aquatic Centre on Saturday as he claimed a dominant gold medal in the 400m individual medley, while Michael Phelps could only manage to finish in a distant fourth.

Medal Table

The 27-year-old, tipped by some to actually win more medals than the higher-profile Phelps over the course of London 2012, went out at a scintillating pace over the first 200m as he put clear distance between himself and the rest of the field - even looking like he would set a new world record before fading slightly over the final 50m.

Phelps, meanwhile, seemed to struggle initially with his backstroke and breaststroke - leaving himself a deficit to Lochte that he never looked like making up. He eventually stopped the clock in a time of 4:09.28 - Lochte won in a time of 4:05.18.

The 14-time Olympic gold medallist is looking for just three more medals to become the most decorated Olympian ever, but his bid to achieve that remarkable honour will have to wait at least a little while longer - as he was beaten to the wall by a clear margin by Brazil's Thiago Pereira and 17-year-old Japanese Kosuke Hagino.

It is the first time since 2000 that Phelps has failed to medal in any Olympic event that he has participated in. He was looking to win the 400m IM for the third time in succession, although he has long maintained it is not his favourite event by any means.

Lochte, meanwhile, is also looking for a haul of golds in London - although he will only go head-to-head with Phelps, a close friend but also by some distance his closest rival, once more in the pool.

"I sure hope so," Lochte said, when asked if he was going to dominate in the pool at these Games. "I'm just going out there, having fun - and doing what I do best, which is racing. I liked it [winning] a lot!"

Elsewhere, Britain's Hannah Miley could only finish fifth as Ye Shiwen, the 16-year-old from China, triumphed in the women's 400m medley in a world record time of 4:28.43. Elizabeth Beisel of America took silver, while bronze went to China's Li Xuanxu.

"I gave it everything I had," Miley, who also goes in the 200m medley, said. "This morning it was a fight to get into the final, and it was who could recover quickest. I am gutted I didn't get a medal, but I couldn't have given it any more. That was everything I had. It's one place better than I did in Beijing."

Sun Yang became China's first male swimmer to take a gold medal in the pool - breaking Ian Thorpe's Olympic record in the process. He nearly broke the world record in the 400m freestyle but somewhat confusingly only glided to the wall over the final few metres, with Britain's David Carry coming home seventh after achieving his aim to reach the final.

"I knew it was going to be a tough ask, but to race against the best in the world with all this support behind me was amazing," Carry said. "It's been a difficult journey, but an awesome one."

Later in the evening, the women's 4x100m freestyle relay team briefly looked on course to claim the first home medal of these Games - but the team's valiant effort eventually came up slightly short over the closing leg as they ultimately finished fifth.

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