By Chuck Schilken
2:39 PM EST, December 18, 2012
Ryan Lochte is one generous Olympian.
That is more than the U.S. swimmer can say about a certain, unnamed athlete he idolized as a child.
And that is why Lochte has been known to simply give away some of his non-Olympic medals, including the gold medal he won over the weekend while breaking his own world record in the 200-meter individual medley at the world short course swimming championships in Istanbul.
"I remember when as a kid I looked up to an Olympian superstar," Lochte said. "I won't mention his name [but] I asked for an autograph and he said 'no'. I told my parents that if I ever get in the same position, I'll do it."
Lochte later tweeted a picture of himself with Arda Cakmak, the Turkish boy who wore the medal given to him by the generous American swimmer. "He's a winner in my book!" Lochte wrote of Cakmak, who had been patiently waiting for an autograph.
It wasn't the only medal Lochte handed out during the world championships. But not to worry -- he had plenty to spare after finishing the event with six golds and one silver.
"One of the main reasons for racing is because of my fans, so I always want to give something back," Lochte said. "If I took the medal, it would end up in a sock drawer. If I give it to a fan, they're going to treasure it."