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Ryan Lochte Wins 1st Gold Medal at London Olympics, Michael Phelps Finishes 4th

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Ryan Lochte poses on the podium with the gold medal after winning the men's 400m individual medley swimming. 

Ryan Lochte is off to an impressive start at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

On July 28, the New York-born swimmer, 27, earned his first gold medal in London during the men’s 400 meter individual medley. He finished in 4 minutes, 5.18 seconds — two seconds faster than his performance at the Olympic Trials. In 2010, Lochte set the world record at 3 minutes, 55.5 seconds.

“I’m in kind of a shock,” Lochte said post-swim. “Going into the race, I knew I was capable of getting the win. I’m happy I was able to do that.”

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Brazil’s Thiago Pereira, 26, won the silver medal, and Japan’s Kosuke Hagino, 27, won the bronze medal.

Lochte — who competed at the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics — now has four gold medals, two silver medals and one bronze medal.

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Following his poor performance Saturday morning, fellow American Michael Phelps, 27, landed in fourth place behind Lochte, Pereira and Hagino. “It was just a crappy race,” Phelps told reporters. “I felt fine the first 200, then I don’t know. They just swam a better race than me, a smarter race than me, and were better prepared than me. That’s why they’re on the medal stand.”

Michael Phelps

Though this is the first time Phelps has failed to at least win at least a bronze medal since the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Lochte believes he can pull it together by Sunday. “I know he gave it everything he had,” Lochte said. “That’s all you can ask for.”

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Lochte and Phelps will team up in the 4 x 100 freestyle relay July 29. On August 1, the two will go head-to-head for the second and final time in the 200-meter individual medley.

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