Plenty of compelling stories beyond Phelps, Lochte

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ESPN: Plenty of compelling stories beyond Phelps, Lochte

One of the most intriguing figures at the trials is Anthony Ervin, who won a gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, then mysteriously walked away from the sport before the next games in Athens. He sold off his gold medal to raise money for victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami, lost the relay silver he won in Australia, and generally just roamed around the country, working odd jobs, finishing college and searching for a deeper meaning to life.

Then, out of nowhere, he returned to the deck last year. Now 31, he's already put up times that stamp him as one of the top contenders in the 50 free, a chaotic dash from one end of the pool to the other.

"It's been quite a journey," Ervin said. "However the dice fall, it's been great. I'm glad I've been able to come back. There was never any intention to return to what I was."