Ryan Lochte made quite a splash at the World Shortcourse Swimming Championships last week -- both in and out of the pool.
According to the BBC, the 28-year-old swimming heartthrob, who holds 11 Olympic medals and four world records, wowed the crowds gathered during the five-day event held in Istanbul, Turkey, by snagging eight medals, including five golds. He also shattered two world records, in the 100m and 200m individual medley events. (Oh, he also wore these shoes.)
Lochte's victories in the water were not his only big wins, however.
The American swimmer also won many hearts with his generosity.
On Friday, having won the 200m individual medley, Lochte reportedly "stunned" spectators when he went into the stands and handed his newly-acquired gold medal to a young fan -- a Turkish boy named Arda. According to Australia's Herald Sun, Arda had been "patiently waiting for the American's autograph."
Photo Credit: AP
"One of the main reasons for racing is because of my fans, so I always want to give something back," the swimmer told BBC. "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."
Lochte said that a childhood incident has shaped the way he approaches his relationships with his supporters.
"I remember when as a kid I looked up to an Olympian superstar," the swimmer 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 took a picture with the thrilled young boy and posted in on Twitter:
Got a chance to take a pic with Arda Harunyan. 8 year old boy that I gave the medal too! He's a winner in my book! twitter.com/ryanlochte/sta…— Ryan Lochte (@ryanlochte) December 15, 2012
Click through this slideshow to see more photos of Lochte and this sweet exchange:
Arda poses for the camera after receiving the gold medal from Ryan Lochte
Winner Ryan Lochte of U.S., left, is congratulated by Dayia Seto of Japan after the American's victory in the men's 200 meters individual medley final during the FINA Short Course Swimming World Championships at the Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012.
World Champion of the men's 200 meters individual medley Ryan Lochte of U.S. waves to the crowd during the victory ceremony at the FINA Short Course Swimming World Championships at the Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012.
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