Ryan Lochte auctions off 6 Olympic medals for charity

Olympian Ryan Lochte has put six of his silver and bronze medals up for auction and plans to donate the proceeds to charity, the swimmer said.

“I don’t want people to think I didn’t care about the medals,” Lochte, 37, told NBC Sports by phone Sunday. “I cherish them, but they’re just sitting in my closet collecting dust.”

RR Auction listed three of Lochte's bronze medals and three of his silver medals. The Boston-based auction house also listed a 14-karat white gold ring Lochte had made after the 2012 London Olympics and a Breitling black diamond wristwatch he purchased around the same time.

The medals — one of which is being auctioned individually, and the rest of which are being offered in a pair and a trio — have already racked up dozens of bids for thousands of dollars. They amount to half of the 12 Olympic medals Lochte has won overall, second only to Michael Phelps' record 28 total medals, according to NBC Sports.

Lochte told NBC Sports the proceeds will go to the Jorge Nation Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises money for children with a terminal or serious illness to go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip of their choice. Lochte, whose agent is on the board of directors, said he has partnered with the foundation for more than a decade.

“I feel amazing about [the auction] just because I’m going to be helping kids out,” he told NBC Sports.

The individual silver medal up for auction is from Lochte's second-place finish in the men's 200-meter individual medley at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The pair of bronze medals are from his third-place finishes in the 200-meter and 400-meter individual medleys in Beijing in 2008.

And Lochte earned the two silver medals and one bronze up for auction as a set at the 2012 London Olympics, through his second-place finishes in the 200-meter individual medley and 4x100-meter freestyle relay and his third-place finish in the 200-meter backstroke.

This may not be the last chance to bid on Lochte's medals: He told NBC Sports he will likely auction some of his six Olympic gold medals in the future for charity, adding that he plans to keep his first individual Olympic gold medal from the 2008 Olympics, where he won the 200-meter backstroke.

It's also not the first time he has given them away: He often gave children the medals he won at domestic meets, he told NBC Sports.

“I never kept any medal,” Lochte said. “I’m not the one to keep memorabilia.”

CORRECTION (July 5, 2022, 1:30 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misspelled the brand of the watch Lochte is auctioning off. It’s Breitling, not Brietling.