The first full day of 2012 London Olympics will feature one of the biggest Team USA showdowns on the schedule as dominant swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte go head to head for gold in the men's 400m individual medley.
Although Phelps, who has already cemented his reputation as one of the greatest swimmers of all time with a whopping 16 Olympic medals to his name, owns the World Record in the event, Lochte is the reigning World Champion. In addition, Lochte beat Phelps' time by .83 second at the Olympic Trials in Omaha in late June. So overall, Lochte has momentum on his side entering the London Games.
But it's important to not discount Phelps' extensive Games experience and his dedication to coming out ahead. And it's also important to keep in mind that Phelps didn't compete in the 400m IM at the 2011 Worlds, and that he probably didn't put an all-out effort into his Olympic Trial performance. When Phelps is on, he's nearly unbeatable, and simply earning the right to compete in the event at the Trials was likely his goal. When he turns on the engine, things should be different.
Though the outcome seems too close to call, Swimming Magazine's John Lohn wasn't shy about choosing Lochte to take the gold ahead of his teammate. And just incidentally, Lohn selected Hungarian Laszlo Cseh as the likely bronze medal winner to round out the event podium.
Qualifications for the men's 400m IM begin at 2:00 AM PT on July 28, and the medal round swim is slated for 11:30 AM PT. Live coverage of both the preliminary rounds and the finals is available via live stream at nbcolympics.com, the home site for all things pertaining to the 2012 Olympics.