LONDON (Sporting Alert) – Michael Phelps was handed a defeat in his first race at the London Olympic Games where the American trailed home his fellow countryman Ryan Lochte in the 400-meter individual medley on Saturday.
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In fact, Phelps, who dominated in the pool at the Beijing Olympics failed to medal after he took fourth in the race in 4:09.28.
“It was a crappy race,” Phelps said. “I felt fine for the first 200 meters and then I just don’t know.
“They just swam a better race – a smarter race than me. They were more prepared. That’s why they are on the medal stand.”
“The biggest thing is to get past this and move forward,” he added. “I have a bunch of other races. Hopefully we can finish a lot better than we started.”
And while Phleps struggled, Lochte, a favourite to beat him before the Games even began, was brilliant and won the gold medal in 4:05.18 seconds.
Brazil’s Thiago Pereira was good on the day with 4:08.86 for silver, while Japan’s 17-year-old Kosuke Hagino held off Phelps down the final stretch of the butterfly, to take bronze, at 4:08.94
He said on his Twitter account: “Thanks to my fans. This gold was for Lochte Nation!! “That’s what happens when Lochte Nation Unites!
Meanwhile, 16-year-old Ye Shiwen set a world record in the women’s 400 race when she won in 4:28.43, recoving the old mark of 4:29.45 set by Australia’s Stephanie Rice at the 2008 Beijing Games.
American Elizabeth Beisel took silver with China’s Li Xuanxu taking bronze.