Swimming: Men’s 400m IM Final
7.30pm BBC1, BBC Olympics 1
It’s ludicrous, but if Michael Phelps doesn’t win the seven golds he’s going for, including the 400m individual medley, some will see it as a failure because of the eight he won in Beijing.
Had his US team-mate and great rival Ryan Lochte (below) been born in any other decade, he would have had the accolades Michael (below right) has had, but they couldn’t be more different. Ryan is a surf dude from Florida who loves to mess about with cars. Michael is from Baltimore and is serious, keeps his head down.
I know how hard you have to train for the 400m medley — two lengths of butterfly, breaststroke, backstroke and freestyle — and I’m astonished that Michael, the slightly more mature athlete, didn’t pull out. All his other events are 200m and below. It helps that the 400m medley is first, though. Michael has the edge in the butterfly; Ryan has the edge in the backstroke; they both have a good breaststroke; and they both have an amazing freestyle.
Ryan will turn up to events with a gold gumshield and training shoes. Michael is quite subdued with everything he does. I don’t think they get on too well. They have respect for each other and they’re team-mates, but they wouldn’t naturally socialise. It’ll be interesting to see which psychological games get played. Sharron Davies