LONDON – The American gambit of putting superstarsand both on the 4x100 freestyle relay blew up Sunday night, but did land the U.S. on the medal podium in a furiously competitive race.
The Americans earned a silver medal, finishing second behind France in a stunning turnaround from 2008. Back then, the U.S. had come from behind to win gold. Now, France did the same as Lochte gave away the lead.
[Photos: Ryan Lochte's grill of victory]
In a decision cloaked in secrecy until 6:45 p.m. London time Sunday night, the U.S. opted to put Lochte in the anchor leg despite his inexperience in the event, and moved Phelps out of his customary lead-off position in favor of trials champion Nathan Adrian.
Adrian got the U.S. off to a fast start with a lead leg of 47.89 to put the Yanks in first. Then Phelps extended the advantage with a sizzling leg of 47.15.in third held the lead and handed the gold to Lochte.
He couldn’t hold on.