Ryan Lochte
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New chef, new coach, but same ‘goofball’ Ryan Lochte

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1. Ryan Lochte has grown to enjoy eating greens with his new chef, who prepared meals for LeBron James for five years.

“This is what I wish I listened to when I was in college, or before that,” Lochte said. “How did I get those gold medals, how did I get to the Olympics eating all this crap?”

But Lochte sticks to his tradition of pizza and wings every Friday night.

2. After 11 years in Gainesville, Fla., Lochte moved to Charlotte in 2013 to work under a coach he calls a “mad scientist,” who would help him focus on shorter events.

“To start a new swimming career,” Lochte said.

But Lochte is again dipping his toes into his most time-consuming race from previous Olympic cycles, the grueling 400m individual medley.

3. Lochte said he considered quitting the sport twice following the London 2012 Games — after the burnout from his reality TV show and while sidelined after tearing a left knee ligament twice in a six-month span in 2013 and 2014.

“I had a lot of doubt that I was never going to be the same swimmer again,” he said.

But last year Lochte captured his fourth straight World title in the 200m individual medley. He left the World Championships as the only U.S. man with an individual gold medal.

Lochte, 31, is approaching what could be his fourth and final Olympics with some things old and some things new.

The 11-time Olympic medalist never pulls up his past races on YouTube. Lochte’s recollection of his first Olympics in 2004 is instead a little bit different.

“Long hair, eating McDonald’s, just being a total goofball,” he said. “I guess not much has changed, except for the long hair and eating McDonald’s.”

The friendly rivalry with Michael Phelps remains, too.

They went one-two in their first Olympic head-to-head in the Athens 2004 200m individual medley. Last year, Phelps and Lochte were the only two men in the world to break 1:56 in the 200m individual medley.

It’s been noted that Phelps can become the oldest individual Olympic swimming champion of all time in August. But Lochte is one year older than Phelps.

Lochte is mum on what he will race at the Olympic trials (like Phelps), how much longer he will continue swimming after the Rio Games (unlike Phelps) and if he’ll stay in Charlotte training under David Marsh after the Olympics.

An enduring Lochte trait is his spirited attitude toward his career, audible as he sings and makes animal noises in practice.

It will be time to hang up the cap and goggles when he no longer feels like that pool-deck goofball.

“When I wake up and I don’t want to go to a swimming pool,” Lochte said. “Once I start thinking that swimming is a job.”

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Shelby Houlihan shatters American 5000m record

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Shelby Houlihan chopped 10.52 seconds off her own American 5000m record, clocking 14:23.92 at a Bowerman Track Club intrasquad meet in Portland, Ore., on Friday night.

Houlihan, who was 11th in the Rio Olympic 5000m, has in this Olympic cycle improved to become one of the greatest female distance runners in U.S. history.

She first broke Shannon Rowbury‘s American record in the 5000m by 4.47 seconds in 2018. In 2019, she broke Rowbury’s American record in the 1500m by 1.3 seconds in finishing fourth at the world championships in 3:54.99.

On Friday, Houlihan and second-place Karissa Schweizer both went under the American record. Schweizer, 24 and three years younger than Houlihan, clocked 14:26.34, staying with Houlihan until the winner’s 61-second final lap.

“I knew Karissa was going to try to come up on me and take the lead. She does that every time,” Houlihan told USATF.tv. “I had decided I was not going to let that happen.”

Houlihan improved from 41st to 12th on the world’s all-time 5000m list, 12.77 seconds behind Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba‘s world record.

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Can T.J. Oshie, other established Olympic hockey stars hold on for 2022?

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T.J. Oshie will be 35 years old during the next Winter Olympics. Jonathan Quick will be 36. Now that the NHL is one key step closer to returning to the Winter Games, the question surfaces: which 2014 Olympians will have a difficult time returning to rosters in 2022?

Oshie was the last of the 14 forwards chosen for the U.S. Olympic team for Sochi, beating out Bobby Ryan and Brandon Saad, in part for his shootout prowess.

In group play against Russia, Oshie was memorably tapped by U.S. head coach Dan Bylsma six times in a shootout, including all five in the sudden-death rounds. Oshie beat Sergei Bobrovsky four times, including the game winner.

“After I went out for my third attempt, I figured I was going to keep going,” Oshie said, according to USA Hockey. “Each time I would look up to see what [Bylsma] had to say, and he would just give me a nod every time. I kind of started laughing toward shot five and six because it was getting kind of ridiculous.”

Oshie became known as “T.J. Sochi” on social media. President Barack Obama congratulated him on Twitter. The U.S. eventually lost to Canada in the semifinals and Finland in the bronze-medal game.

When the NHL chose not to send its players to the PyeongChang Winter Games, it may have spelled the end of Oshie’s Olympic career.

Consider that the oldest forward on the 2014 U.S. Olympic team was 29, six years younger than Oshie will be come 2022. A recent Olympic roster prediction from The Hockey Writers put Oshie in the “Just Missed Out” list.

NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire has Oshie among the finalists for the last forward spots in his early U.S. roster prediction.

“I wouldn’t discount T.J. Oshie because shootout is still part of it,” McGuire said. “He still has his shootout moves, even though he’s not getting any younger.”

Quick, the unused third goalie in 2010, played 305 out of 365 minutes in net for the U.S. in Sochi. He was coming off a Stanley Cup in 2012 and en route to another one in 2014.

Since, he was sidelined by a knee injury that required surgery. He remains the Los Angeles Kings’ No. 1 goalie, which almost automatically puts an American in the Olympic roster discussion these days.

“Somebody like Jonathan definitely merits consideration just because of his achievement level over time, but I think he’d be the first person to tell you injuries have definitely affected him,” McGuire said of Quick, looking to become the second-oldest U.S. goalie to play in the Olympics after Tom Barrasso in 2002. “It’s not going to be easy for him.”

The U.S. could bypass Quick for three Olympic rookies in 2022. Connor Hellebuyck, John Gibson and Ben Bishop have superior save percentages and goals-against averages and more games played than Quick since the start of the 2018-19 season.

A wild card is Spencer Knight, the 19-year-old No. 1 from the world junior championships who last year became the highest-drafted goalie since 2010 (No. 13 to the Florida Panthers). Knight would break defenseman Bryan Berard‘s record as the youngest U.S. Olympic hockey player in the NHL era.

The Canadian roster has traditionally been deeper than the U.S. The talent is overwhelming at center, led by Sidney CrosbyConnor McDavidPatrice Bergeron and Nathan MacKinnon. The Canadians must get creative if the likes of veterans Jonathan Toews and John Tavares will join them in Beijing.

Toews, then 21, was the best forward at the 2010 Vancouver Games and Canada’s only one on the all-tournament team. While Toews’ last NHL All-Star selection was in 2017, his last two seasons have been his best in terms of points per game since 2011.

“The one thing that Canada is very good at, they do it extremely well, they select players that fit roles,” McGuire said, noting Mike Richards shifting to the wing during the 2010 Olympics. “When you look at the overwhelming depth that Canada has, that’s going to be the thing that’s going that’s going to be very interesting to watch to see how it plays out at center.”

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