Ryan Lochte to Take "Time Off" After Rio Olympics

Find out whether the swimmer plans to compete in the 2010 Games in Tokyo

By Zach Johnson Aug 12, 2016 12:18 PMTags
Ryan LochteStanislav Krasilnikov\TASS via Getty Images

Ryan Lochte is ready for some well-deserved R&R.

Speaking after a disappointing 200 IM swim, the athlete announced he will be taking time off following the 2016 Olympics. "Especially how long I've been doing it, it's hard finding different ways to make it fun again," he told NBC Sports Thursday, still visibly upset following his fifth place finish. "I know after this, I'm going to need some time off, just a break mentally, physically."

Will he return for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo?

"Who knows?" Lochte said. "I might be back."

Fans had been looking forward to seeing Lochte go up against gold medalist Michael Phelps in the 200 IM for the last time. (Lochte won the silver in 2004 and 2012, and the bronze in 2008.) "It's been a long journey. I just wish I did a little better," he said. "I felt great before the race. I guess I just didn't have it tonight. Kind of bummed, but I gave it my all, and that's all I can ask for." Lochte finished the race in 1:57.47, which was only about four tenths away from medaling.

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Lochte, who's won 12 total medals in his career, seemed more optimistic in a Today interview that aired Friday. The swimmer said he's not ruling out Tokyo, and even predicted that Phelps will be competing there, too. "You know what, I can definitely say that, because I guarantee he will be there,'' he told Matt Lauer. "I think so. I really think so, so Michael I'll see you in Tokyo."

Phelps is "definitely an inspiration," Lochte said, noting all that his teammate has accomplished in the sport. "He brings the best out of me, and hopefully I can say the same for him. The rivalry that we've created and that friendship, I'm definitely going to cherish it for the rest of my life."

When the Olympics are held in 2020, Lochte will turn 36. If he were to compete, he would become the oldest American man to compete in swimming in an individual event since 1904. Anthony Ervin, who is competed in Rio Thursday, currently holds the distinction at 35 years old. "Going in day in and day out just beating up your body, it takes a toll,'' Lochte, 32, reiterated. "Being at the age I am now, it's definitely time that I need a break, but I can't say it's over."

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