Is Ryan Lochte ready to say goodbye to swimming after the Rio Olympics? Now that he’s finished his final race in Rio, it’s rumored that the 32-year-old is ready to retire from the sport we know and love him for. Last night was his final race in the 200 IM, and it was the last time that he would race against competitive rival and friend Michael Phelps. Although Lochte looked exhausted after the race, which he failed to medal in, there are some that are holding out hope that he will return for the next Olympics in Tokyo.
It’s easy to see why viewers would be excited about the possibility of Lochte’s return. With swimming hero Phelps adamant about retiring after his Olympic schedule, many are looking to Lochte to be the returning famous figure in the sport. Lochte has a completely different brand over the course of his career. He’s playful, is known to be a ladies man, and likes to have fun with the commentators. He’s always a big entertainment factor ever since he debuted alongside Phelps in the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics.
— Evie Clark (@eviesaysthings) August 12, 2016
Lochte has shown up to the Olympics wearing a full-on medal grill, and for a while, he even had his own reality show, which showed him partying it up and charming the ladies. And who can forget when he created his own catchphrase, “Jeah!” which he trademarked in 2012? There are endless memes from his quotes that come out of his interviews, and he doesn’t take himself too seriously.
This year he made headlines when he decided to dye his hair silver right before the games. Of course, when he got into the pool, his hair started turning green due to the chlorine in the water. Just a small change in his look started a flurry of Tweets:
— HelloGiggles.com (@hellogiggles) August 12, 2016
— HelloGiggles.com (@hellogiggles) August 10, 2016
My mom’s reaction to Ryan Lochte’s new hair pic.twitter.com/fIBBeuv4ul
— emily gurley (@egurlay17) August 2, 2016
His winning personality aside, Lochte is also a decorated Olympian, who managed to tie legendary Olympian Mark Spitz with 12 medals. Of course, Lochte’s friend, Michael Phelps, has 26 medals. So, is Lochte after more gold? It seems so! That said, before he jumps back into the pool for the Olympics in Tokyo, Ryan mentioned that he needs some time off to recover.
After he had competed in his last race at Rio, he told NBC, “It’s hard finding different ways to make it fun again. I know after this, I’m going to need some time off, just a break mentally, physically.”
When asked if he might return, Lochte seemed unsure, “Who know? I might be back.”
It seems like Lochte slept on it because when he appeared on the TODAY Show, he was certain that he would return for Tokyo. Not only that, but he challenged friend Michael Phelps to a race in Tokyo, as well.
“You know what, I can definitely say that, because I guarantee he will be there. think so. I really think so, so Michael I’ll see you in Tokyo.”
Although Phelps hasn’t responded to Lochte, Michael’s mother, Debbie, is excited about the possibility despite her son being ready to retire after five Olympics.
“That would be wonderful. I already have the race picked out.”
If Ryan Lochte truly returns in 2020, he still won’t be the oldest swimmer to compete in the Olympics. That honor goes to swimmer Dara Torres, who entered her last race in 2012 at the age of 45.
[Photo by Michael Sohn/ AP Images]