Ryan Lochte, Michael Phelps

Ryan Lochte inspired by Michael Phelps’ return (video)

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Ryan Lochte said he questioned his future in swimming after a November knee injury, but hearing rumors last fall of Michael Phelps‘ return motivated him.

“I was going through a rough patch after worlds last summer,” Lochte told NBC News. “I took a lot of time off, plus my injury. I almost didn’t come back to the sport of swimming. Then I started hearing rumors of him being in the water, training. I was like, you know what, this is good. This is good for the sport. It’s good for me. We push each other all the time. He knows I’m training hard. I know he’s training hard.”

Lochte, like Phelps, is scheduled to swim in the Arena Grand Prix at Mesa, Ariz., beginning Thursday. Lochte is back after going against doctors’ suggestions racing in Orlando in February, about three and a half months after he reportedly tore his left MCL and sprained his ACL after a teenage girl ran to him, he caught her and they both fell. His knee hit a curb, Lochte’s publicist said.

Lochte said his injured knee hurt after swimming in February, that he pushed it too hard.

The 11-time Olympic medalist is back now and ready to race against Phelps, just like he has at the last three Games. Lochte was not surprised by Phelps’ comeback after 20 months away from competition. He called it as far back as 2012.

“He announced his retirement and everything,” Lochte said. “I was like, don’t kid yourself. You’re going to miss it. You’re going to want to come back. You’re going to miss that limelight. … Once you’ve done something for so long every day pretty much your entire life, then, all of a sudden, it just disappears, you’re going to miss it. Hey, I was right.”

Lochte said there’s no doubt in his mind Phelps will post fast times.

“I don’t think he’s taken really a break,” Lochte said. “I think he’s been in the water. I think he’s just kidding everyone. That’s my guess.”

Phelps no longer with Speedo

Shalane Flanagan gets Olympic silver medal, 9 years later

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Shalane Flanagan received an Olympic silver medal on Monday — nine years overdue. She does not want a makeup medal ceremony.

The U.S. runner was upgraded from bronze to silver from the Beijing 2008 10,000m, the delivery to her Oregon home coming Monday.

That happened five months after it was announced that the original silver medalist — Turkey’s Elvan Abeylegesse — tested positive for a banned steroid in a retest of a 2007 doping sample.

“Receiving my proper medal and having the record books changed is a dream come true,” Flanagan said in a USA Track and Field press release. “I greatly appreciate the USOC’s efforts to host a more formal medal ceremony in my honor, but with my coach and my family, I have decided to forego that option and instead celebrate in private. This news, and receiving my medal, are all that I need to feel incredibly fulfilled and happy.”

USATF added that Flanagan’s bronze medal was already returned to the International Olympic Committee. Kenyan Linet Masai, the original fourth-place finisher, figures to receive it.

Abeylegesse is one of a number of track and field athletes who received retroactive bans and were stripped of medals in recent retests of doping samples from five to 10 years ago.

But not all of the stripped medals have been reallocated. Many world championships medals were re-presented in ceremonies at the recently completed track worlds in London, but zero Olympic medal reallocations were made.

MORE: U.S. sprinter received 6-month doping ban

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Ryan Lochte returns to old coach

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Ryan Lochte is returning to the coach who helped him become the world’s best swimmer.

Lochte is moving back to the University of Florida to train under Gregg Troy, who guided him to 11 medals among the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics. For a stretch around 2011, Lochte overtook Michael Phelps as the world’s best swimmer.

“There are many things that he could have done better during the last couple of years, in and out of the pool, and we believe that Gainesville affords him the best opportunity to get back to what made him so great,” Lochte’s agent said in a statement Monday. “The Gainesville swimming community has always been supportive of Ryan, and he is excited that he will be joining them once again.”

Lochte, bidding for his fifth Olympics in 2020 when he will be 35, chose Troy after spending the early months of his return from suspension working under Dave Salo in Southern California. The Salo partnership was always going to be a temporary one until Lochte’s son was born June 8.

Lochte and Troy first connected when the swimmer enrolled at UF in 2002 and enjoyed a dazzling run together for 11 years.

They split in 2013, and Lochte went to work with David Marsh in Charlotte. That Olympic cycle did not go as planned. Lochte was sidelined significantly by injuries, including at the Olympic Trials, then had his gas-station incident in Rio.

After the Olympics, Lochte got engaged, moved from Charlotte to Southern California and became a father.

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VIDEO: Phelps lost money to Barack Obama in golf, actor says