With his first Olympic victory over Michael Phelps in the bag, Ryan Lochte steps up his bid to stamp himself the star of London 2012 on Wednesday with a punishing backstroke-medley double.
The meatiest portion of the American's Olympic programme includes a second expected duel with Phelps in the 200m individual medley along with his gold medal defence in the 200m backstroke.
"Some people might say you're crazy for going back-to-back events but you know what - it's fun for me," Lochte says. "If I win, I win. If I don't, I don't.
"As long as I'm having fun doing what I love to do, I'm going to keep doing this."
Lochte, who pulled off an impressive upset of Aaron Peirsol to win the 200m backstroke in Beijing, will face stiff competition from Japan's Ryosuke Irie and team-mate Tyler Clary, who followed him on the podium at the world championships at Shanghai last year.
Irie owns the fastest time in the world this year of 1min 54.02sec. Lochte is right behind him with a 1:54.54 from the US trials, and Clary -- hungry for Olympic success after missing out on a trip to Beijing -- is right there, too with a 1:54.88.
Clary is also entered in the 200m medley, but all eyes in that event will be on Lochte and Phelps in the second of their two expected head-to-head clashes.
Lochte's beat-down of Phelps in the 400m medley on Saturday, when the world record-holder and two-time defending champion trailed home in fourth, was Lochte's first Olympic triumph over his illustrious compatriot.
He'll go for another in the 200 IM -- in which he has already asserted his dominance.
Lochte lowered his own world record in the 200m medley to beat Phelps to the gold in Shanghai.
Phelps clocked the fastest time in the world this year in beating Lochte at the US trials, while Laszlo Cseh, silver medallist behind Phelps in Beijing, will be looking to rebound after failing to make the 400m medley final.
Phelps, master of the multi-event programme, knows just how tough a task Lochte faces in his upcoming double, which gives him heats and semis in both events on Wednesday and if all goes according to plan, both finals on Thursday.
That's fine with Lochte, whose multiple medal campaign took a hit when he finished fourth in the 200m free won by France's Yannick Agnel on Monday.
"I love to race," he says. "I'm going to step on the blocks and race as many times as my body can handle."© ANP/AFP