Foster backs Lochte over Phelps

Former world champion swimmer Mark Foster believes Michael Phelps is "the biggest name the sport's ever had".

But, the five-time Olympian hopes Ryan Lochte will beat the "Baltimore Bullet" at the 2012 London ames.

Phelps, who has won a record 14 golds over two Games, is expected to do battle with his countryman in the men's 200m individual medley (IM) and 400m IM in London, in one of the most highly-anticipated duels of this, or any other Olympics.

Foster, 42, who was the main speaker at the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim Scholarship ceremony on Monday, said: "I'd like to see Lochte win. I just like his character - he surfs and skateboards, he's very relaxed and very refreshing for the sport.

"Phelps is great, but I think Lochte has got more of a cheeky, fun character."

Speaking on the sidelines of yesterday's event at the The Rock Auditorium in Suntec City, the Briton likened the rivalry between the two Americans to that "Race of the Century" at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, where Phelps, Ian Thorpe, Pieter van den Hoogenband and Grant Hackett, among a list of eight elite swimmers, took the plunge in the men's 200m freestyle final.

Thorpe won the clash of the titans with an Olympic-record time of 1 min 44.71 sec, with Dutch superstar van den Hoogenband claiming silver and a young Phelps, just 19, taking the bronze.

"I like seeing good races... because it's like boxing, you want to see an even match, you don't want to see one just wipe the other out," said six-time world champion Foster, who singled out American teenage sensation Missy Franklin to come of age in London.

"I was hoping that Thorpe would come back and they'd all race in the 200m free, but that's not going to happen."

The former short-course specialist believes that the two Americans will each win one of the two individual medley sprints.

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