But after Lochte became Rio's most wanted man after fabricating his story of being robbed at gunpoint at a gas station by men masquerading as police, Phelps kept his distance, according to a USA Today story.
After Lochte returned to Charlotte, N.C., on Aug. 17 with his girlfriend — the same day Brazilian authorities sought his passport, and also the day Lochte said he had planned to leave the country — he decided to reach out to his old friend.
Phelps had his own crisis management experience. He was arrested in September 2014 after driving drunk in Baltimore and being pulled over by police outside the Fort McHenry Tunnel for going 84 mph in a 45-mph zone.
Yet during Lochte's six days of seclusion in Charlotte, he couldn't reach Phelps by phone. They exchanged text messages, but the phone call Lochte expected to come never did.
"I think he texted me back saying, 'Yeah, sure. I'm here to help,' or something like that," Lochte told USA Today. "But he didn't call me. I was like, 'Hey, can you please call me? Let me know, I need help.' That never really happened."
Phelps has kept largely mum on the matter publicly, unless you want to read his rendition of "Lose Yourself" as some kind of performative chastising. He told People magazine in late August that it was "hard to see a friend and a competitor going through a hard time like this." He said he could empathize.
"Hopefully he can come out of this a better person," Phelps said. "I've reached out to him a couple times and I think he understands a lot. He will be able to grow from this."