It’s a little unfair that Team USA’s Men’s Swim Team won all of its Olympic Medals early during the 2012 London Games. Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and company once again dominated the pool inside the Olympic Park, but – by the end of the Games – they were no longer a main topic of conversation.
Swimming kicked off London 2012 as the Olympics first major competition and first front page story after the Opening Ceremony. Phelps became the first major story of the Olympiad when Lochte beat Phelps for Gold in their first direct competition. Then, Team USA’s loss in the four man relay shook stirred up the chlorine, too.
Phelps went on to rule the water agin from their on, but it’s a compliment to Phelps’ now legendary career that some consider his Silver Medals a disappointment – since he swept every event in Beijing.
In order to complete his meteoric ascension to the heady heights of the most successful Olympian in history, it took a group effort by Phelps’ teammates to keep their leader on course to secure his place in Olympic lore.
With the London Games now in the rearview mirror, CraveOnline had a lapped two of Phelps’ teammates, Nathan Adrian and Conor Dwyer, at London press conference to find out what it was like walking around the Olympic Village and into the Aquatics venue.
At every Olympics, the popular rumor is that the Olympic Village is an athletes only 24-hour party. You’d think athletes would have no time to train because all they’re doing is chasing down condoms. But Adrian indicated some of that is overrated.
“There are some pockets that are crazy,” Adrian said. “Some guys are not at the Olympics to focus on their competent. They are there for the social aspect of the Games.”
Dwyer also dismissed the dramatic ideas: “Even with some of that going on, it’s still an amazing experience being in there. We’re eating meals with so many people from around the world. It’s just not as crazy as it’s made out to be in the press.”
“For me, the Olympics aren’t about all of those stories in the Village,” Dwyer added. “It had to be walking into the pool for the first time, or even walking off the plane and thinking, ‘Wow. I’m at the biggest meet of my life in the biggest area I’ve ever been in.’”
Adrian added, “We all realized, win or lose, we were still competing for Team USA. You’re still part of a team and can root for your teammates.”
Adrian competed in Beijing and saw some difference between those Games and London 2012.
“In London, our cultures are much more similar than they were in China. Here, just being able to easily communicate is pretty awesome. The cool thing about our arena here is it’s concave. I could look left and right and see the fans. It added to a feeling of friendliness and intimacy.”
Both Adrian and Dwyer were witnesses to history as Phelps became the greatest Olympian of all time. Neither thought that pressure and media attention was a diversion.
“I think the pressure on Michael’s shoulders was felt by everybody.” Adrian said. “But, after he had the medal record, Michael called us into a huddle and thanked us. As a team moment, it was special to be there around the best swimmer in history.”
“In the days before competing, I didn’t get too much sleep,” Dwyer said. “But having veterans like Michael and Ryan helping to keep us focused really helped us to get ready for the meet of our lives.”