Lochte, 36, finished in seventh place in the Men’s final 200-meter individual medley at US Olympic trials Friday night at CHI Health Center Arena in Omaha, Nebraska.
Only the top two swimmers earned a spot in the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Games.
The disappointing finish was the nail in the coffin of Lochte’s dreams to make a fifth Olympic team and rebuild his reputation after suspensions over the fake gas station robbery and the use of an intravenous infusion.
Ryan Lochte in the pool at the end of the Men’s 200m individual medley at US Olympic trials Friday night at CHI Health Center Arena in Omaha, Nebraska
Swimmer Ryan Lochte, who lied about being robbed in Brazil in 2016, has failed to qualify for Tokyo, bringing an emotional end to his Olympics career. Lochte in tears after the race
The 36-year-old had not been expected to make the Olympic team in the race that requires one lap using each of swimming’s four strokes.
He initially entered in six events for the US trials, but dropped most of them and went all in on the 200 IM.
But in Friday’s final, he came in at 1:59.67, nearly 6 seconds off the 1:54.00 world record he still holds from the 2011 world championships at the height of his career.
He was beaten by 22-year-old Michael Andrew and 27-year-old Chase Kalisz who will now represent the US in Tokyo.
Andrew romped to victory by going under world record pace over the first three laps and holding on in the freestyle for a winning time of 1:55.44.
Chase Kalisz, who already had won the 400 individual medley at these trials, claimed another Olympic event by finishing next in 1:56.97.
Lochte was met with cheers from the crowd including wife Kayla, daughter Liv and son Caiden and swimming great Michael Phelps.
He was last to exit the pool before walking behind the starting blocks and hugging his father.
He then kissed Kayla and picked up the red, white and blue-clad daughter Liv.
Lochte, 36, competes in a men’s 200-meter individual medley semifinal heat Thursday
The swimmer in the Thursday race which took him through to Friday’s final in Omaha
Phelps, Lochte’s longtime rival who retired after the 2016 Rio Games, came down the from the stands and hugged him..
Lochte also shared a poolside embrace with Kalisz and Andrew.
Lochte broke down in tears in a press conference after the race as he said he hoped a final Olympics stint would prove that he had changed.
‘Falling short and feeling like I let everyone down was one of the hardest things,’ Lochte said, wiping his watery eyes with a tissue.
‘I just want to do it for everyone and prove to everyone that I have changed, I’m a different person, my life has definitely changed.’
He added: ‘I wanted to prove so much to everyone.’
He said he was glad that his children had been able to watch him compete.
‘They got to watch their daddy swim,’ he said. ‘That means everything to me.’
Lochte stopped short of saying his swimming days are over but this no doubt brings an end to his chances of securing any more Olympics medals.
Lochte broke down in tears in a press conference (above) after Friday’s race as he said he hoped a final Olympics stint would prove that he had changed
‘I really wanted to be on this Olympic team,’ Lochte said.
‘This is probably my most important swim meet that I’ve ever had in my entire career, the one that meant the most to me. So falling short and feeling like I let everyone down was one of the hardest things.’
He will be approaching his 40th birthday when the Paris Games come around in 2024.
‘I still want to race, but as far as another Olympic trials, I don´t know about that,’ Lochte said. ‘I’ll be [almost] 40. That’s pushing it,’ he said.
Andrew paid tribute to Lochte following the trials.
‘He’s a legend in the water. He’s done some incredible things. To share the pool with him is always an honor,’ he said.
‘For him to tell me, like, he’s passing the torch to me, he’s saying, ‘OK, you’re the guy, go and do this, go and kick some butt,” Andrew said.
‘That’s encouraging as a young athlete. It’s a special moment that I will remember forever.’
Lochte holds his gold medal in his mouth during the award ceremony for the Men’s 200-metre freestyle swimming event in the FINA World Championships in 2011
Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Francis Haas, Conor Dwyer of Team USA celebrate winning the gold medal in the Men’s 200m freestyle relay in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Lochte has won 12 Olympic medals and 27 more at world championships during his career
Lochte’s career has been filled with a fair share of both gold medals and controversies.
He won 12 Olympic medals – tied for second-most by a swimmer in history – and 27 more at world championships.
But his reputation was left in tatters after he lied about being robbed at a gas station in 2016.
Lochte was on a night out in Rio with three younger US Olympics teammates during the 2016 Olympics on August 13 2016.
They claimed the next morning that they had been pulled over by people posing as police offices and robbed at gunpoint.
Brazilian police later said the group lied about the incident and that, instead, the athletes had vandalized a gas station bathroom.
Surveillance footage showed a drunken and jubilant Lochte urinating on the side of the gas station and vandalizing the property.
Lochte’s reputation was left in tatters after he lied about being robbed at a gas station in 2016 in Rio. Surveillance footage of the incident above
Lochte claimed he was robbed at gunpoint, but surveillance footage showed a drunken and jubilant Lochte urinating on the side of the gas station and vandalizing the property
As punishment, he served a lengthy 10-month suspension from USA Swimming.
Lochte then found himself embroiled in another scandal two years later, when he got suspended in 2018 for an intravenous B-12 injection that exceeded the allowed limit.
While athletes are allowed to receive an IV for a legitimate medical reason, the US Anti-Doping Agency forbids any other IV use.
He was banned for 14 months over this incident.
In 2019, Lochte said he had turned his life around – he quit partying, entered rehab and was living happily with his wife and children.
While he will forever be known for both his scandals and his athletic greats, Lochte is also known for shouting his favorite made-up expression ‘Jeah!’