Michael Phelps is the golden boy of USA's Men's Swimming Team—and it's not just because of 23 gold medals he's earned throughout his Olympic career.
As four of his teammates from the 2016 Rio Games find themselves making headlines for their ties to an alleged robbery/vandalism incident in Brazil, 31-year-old Phelps is all smiles back in the States and celebrating his historic wins with his fiancée Nicole Johnson and their son Boomer.
This isn't to say Phelps has never been touched by scandal—he was arrested for DUI once in 2004 and again in 2014. Photos surfaced in 2009 showing the athlete smoking pot from a bong. With each incident, Phelps apologized and took responsibility for his actions. His 2014 arrest resulted in a suspension from the USA swimming team and caused Phelps to check into a rehab facility for treatment. At the time, Phelps' longtime friend and teammate Ryan Lochte told TMZ Sports he was "not concerned" about the future of his fellow Olympian, saying, "He just makes dumb decisions...but he will become smarter from this."
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And that, it seems, he did. Phelps completed his probation, refocused on his swimming career, and told reporters he was "not going to drink until after Rio—if I ever drink again." Phelps vowed to return to the 2016 Olympics as a new kind of competitor, and his partying days became a thing of the past. In 2015, he got engaged, and the following year, he became a father. As Phelps' twenties came to an end, so did his once reckless behaviors. His thirties brought about a new level of focus and maturity, but that certainly can't be said for every athlete as the years pass by.
Lochte, a longtime teammate and friend of Phelps', is one of the U.S. swimmers accused of having "fabricated" a story about an alleged robbery in Rio. The two men competed in the same pool just days ago, but their current situations couldn't be more different. Somewhere over the course of their 13-year history, Phelps emerged as a family man while Lochte remained a frat boy—at least, in the public eye, that is.
The 32-year-old Olympian has long been considered a top competitor, second only to Phelps. Over the past decade their bromance continued to blossom, even as one man partied it up while the other settled down.
Prior to recent events involving #Lochtegate, the athlete was considered "the biggest bachelor at the Olympic village," a source told E! News. "Ryan is not looking for a relationship during this Olympics. He just is looking to have fun."
Fans couldn't help but notice Lochte seemed to be spending some time with Playboy Playmate Kayla Rae Reid. A source told E! News, though, that the athlete was very much still single. "He thinks she [Reid] is hot, that's about it," says an insider.
There were undoubtedly plenty of fish in the Rio sea that would've happily gone for a swim with Lochte, but that wasn't what would make or break his 2016 Olympic experience. Even before he and his teammates' run-in with the law, Lochte was bummed out about his performance in the pool.
"Especially how long I've been doing it, it's hard finding different ways to make it fun again," he told NBC Sports last week following his disappointing fifth place finish in the 200 IM swim. "I know after this, I'm going to need some time off, just a break mentally, physically."
Don't completely rule out a comeback, though. Although Phelps has made it clear that he plans to retire, Lochte is still considering a possible return to 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. "Who knows?" he said. "I might be back."
And by then, Team USA might just be ready for a new golden boy.