Event: Swimming (Men’s)
Hometown: Port Orange, Florida
At first glance, Ryan Lochte doesn’t seem to belong on this list. He’s already a highly accomplished swimmer with six Olympic medals under his belt, and he’s old enough to have a strong level of name recognition and even some endorsement deals. However, through hard work, Lochte has aged like a fine wine, challenging Michael Phelps’ throne more and more as the two have grown older. Ironically, Lochte is nearly a year older than Phelps, proving that the prime age for swimmers depends on a number of factors.
Lochte heads into these Olympics looking to maintain the dominance he displayed at the 2011 World Aquatics Championships, in which he won five gold medals and a bronze, defeating Phelps directly in two events. Still, swimming is generally one of those sports that only comes to the forefront during the Olympics, so most people out there still think of Phelps as the king. It will be extremely interesting to see how the rivalry plays out.