The announcement Tuesday that the Tokyo Olympics would be postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic upset one of the world’s most decorated swimmers, at least for a few minutes.
“I was a little [ticked] off because I’ve been training my butt off and I’ve been feeling great,” 12-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte said. “This Olympics was going to be the most important Olympics of my career because of everything that’s happened in my past.
“But this whole thing is way bigger than me. It’s way bigger than the Olympians. It’s affecting the entire world right now.”
In the last four years, Lochte served suspensions for lying about an incident at a gas station during the Rio de Janeiro Games and for receiving an intravenous infusion, spent time in rehab, married, and welcomed two children into the world.
The Tokyo Games, if Lochte qualified, would be his fifth Olympics and the capstone to his personal reinvention. Though Lochte is 35 — an advanced age to continue swimming at an elite level — he doesn’t plan to let the postponement stop him.
“There’s still so much more I want to accomplish in this sport,” Lochte said. “I’m not going to let this get in the way of it. I guess I have to look at the positive side. I get another year of training and I can get stronger. I can work on my skills and my technique and I can just become a better swimmer.”
Lochte’s home pool shut down Monday because of the pandemic, so his training, for the time being, has revolved around his new role as a family man.
“Now it’s me bench-pressing my babies, carrying them and doing squats in my garage,” he said.