Ryan Lochte said his “No. 1” gold medal from his first individual Olympic title in 2008 has gone missing.
“I don’t know where it is,” Lochte told Graham Bensinger in an interview clip published Wednesday. “I have a couple guesses.”
Lochte believed a former agent or his mom had the medal, but said they told him they don’t have it.
The gold medal carries added emotional weight for Lochte. It came in the 200m backstroke at the 2008 Beijing Games, where Lochte broke his own world record.
Before that, Lochte earned relay golds, plus individual silver and bronze medals behind Michael Phelps in his previous individual Olympic events. About a half-hour after the 200m backstroke in Beijing, Lochte took another bronze in a race won by Phelps.
But the 200m back in Beijing was all about Lochte, defeating the defending Olympic champion Aaron Peirsol, who beat Lochte at the Olympic Trials and tied Lochte’s world record in Omaha.
In the Water Cube crowd, Lochte’s father and first swim coach, Steven, cried. He previously told his son that he was a good swimmer, but greatness came when you break a world record and win a gold medal in the Olympics.
“When he did the parade around the pool, he got up on the bleachers, and I leaned over the railing,” Steven said in “In Deep with Ryan Lochte,” an NBC Sports film on Peacock. “I whispered, ‘You’re great.'”
Lochte remembered it.
“I could just see the tears of joy coming from him and how proud he was of me,” he said.
Lochte, 36, is bidding to qualify for his fifth Olympics next year and to become the second-oldest U.S. Olympic swimmer in history after Dara Torres.
He is coming back from suspensions for his Rio gas-station incident and then for receiving an IV infusion of an illegal amount of a legal substance. Lochte was caught because he published a photo of the infusion on social media.
His best chance to qualify for the Olympics appears to be in the 200m individual medley, where Lochte is a four-time world champion and the world-record holder. He ranks fifth among Americans in the event since the start of 2019. The top two at trials in June qualify for Tokyo.
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