Michael Phelps has added another triumph to his list of accomplishments: The Associated Press male athlete of the year.
The finale was a formality, more a coronation than a contest. Michael Phelps headed into the retirement the only way imaginable — with another gold medal.
Ryan Lochte strolled the deck of the Olympic Aquatics Centre wearing diamonds in his mouth and lime-green sneakers on the feet that powered him through the water faster than anyone else. Beaming, he chomped playfully on his gold medal while Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" blared throughout the massive arena.
Separately, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte represent one-half of the biggest rivalry in swimming, possibly the entire 2012 Olympic Games. Together, they are the future of the sport to which they've devoted their youth.
There won't be a Beijing repeat in London. Michael Phelps has dropped one of his eight Olympic races.
The first Nebraska showdown between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte came at the edge of a curtained-off interview room, not far from the temporary pool where the U.S. Olympic swimming team will be decided.
Maybe, Michael Phelps isn't finished swimming the 400 IM after all.
Michael Phelps is anguished no more. After a frustrating year marked by losses, lack of motivation and fitness, and indecision about his future in the pool, the 14-time Olympic champion is happy to be working hard again.
It is now common for Americans to watch events on high-definition televisions big enough to warrant their own zip codes, but for networks and sports leagues, the future may lie with the screen of a 17-inch laptop.