Are You In Love With Ryan Lochte Yet?

Are you sure?

How about now?

Ryan Lochte is an Olympic swimmer, winner of several World championships in swimming, and holds a couple records in swimming times as well. He’s posed to possibly beat Michael Phelps (and several other swimmers from around the world, but let’s be honest, Michael Phelps) at the London Olympics.

To add to the tension, Ryan recently beat Michael Phelps (with whom he is friends) in two recent championships. He’s a contender.

Okay, this is pretty adorable.

Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte

But more importantly, he’s posed to be a sex symbol and thus extremely marketable in a way that Michael Phelps couldn’t be:

“We’re a little Phelps’d out,” said Bob Dorfman, the executive creative director of Baker Street Advertising and author of the Sports Marketers’ Scouting Report. As a brand, Mr. Lochte’s appeal is “through the roof,” he added. “He has potential for winning golds, and then just the fact that he’s so damn good-looking. If he can’t beat Michael Phelps in anything else, he can beat him in that category.”

In addition, he already has a catchphrase, a large Twitter following, and a Vogue cover shoot.

With Serena Williams and Hope Solo

“I’m the only one [Vogue cover boy] who had two girls.”

Not to mention a signature shoe covered in rhinestones from one of his sponsors, Speedo, who also sell a $25 flip-flop version of it.

can't wait until Forever 21 knocks the rhinestone versions off...

via explore.speedousa.com

But Ryan Lochte is different from the usual Olympic athlete: he’s not very interested in his own sport.

“I don’t want to be stuck in the swimming world,” he said. “I don’t just eat, swim, sleep — I don’t do that. There’s so much more to me than swimming.” Away from the pool deck, he added, “I hate talking about swimming.” He prefers playing basketball, or practicing his terrible golf game, or drawing surreal nature images.

Finally, there’s Ryan Lochte’s constant presence in social media, where he retweets fans who wear his sunglasses and posts pictures of his grill. Meanwhile, all Michael Phelps talks about is swimming.

Check out his grill.

Just one more.

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Female Olympians: A Strange Phenomenon, Apparently

In recent Olympic news, there’s been a lot of stories on female athletes in the Olympics, partly because of the IOC’s policy that puts in place sex verification made to ban women with naturally high testosterone levels from women’s competitions, because of an apparent advantage.

American hurdler and all around awesome person Lolo Jones

Of course, THIS IS TOTAL CRAP. Having more testosterone does not equal higher athletic ability. And suggesting that’s so is insulting to everyone, especially to the athletes that work so hard. Caster Semenya’s situation comes to mind especially, where the IAAF decided to test her “womanness” in a way that invaded Semenya’s privacy and turned her into a political statement.

via The Guardian

What’s next, testing male athletes on teams for higher estrogen levels because of a correlation between estrogen and a cooperative nature? Or preventing older athletes from competing unless they have progesterone levels on par with younger athletes? Or preventing Michael Phelps from competing because he has a body made to win?

Michael Phelps swimming

Oh, no, wait, according to Scientific American, that means nothing — and is usually an excuse made by people because of the association fallacy that something inherently “special” about Michael got him the win — not hard work, a devotion to improving his form, or anything like that:

So do you think there is anything to these “natural physical gift” arguments?

H. Richard Weiner (an internist and a former acclaimed All-American swimmer): I’m sure if we could measure Phelps as much as we would like, we would find attributes better than average for swimming, but I don’t think we would find any glaring abnormalities. I suspected if we could comprehensively measure all Olympians in finals, we would see significant differences [when compared to non-Olympians], but we would not see them having freakish things like 200 percent more lung capacity, or muscles that can contract at twice the [maximum] force of a normal human muscle. I mean, come on.

This is particularly disturbing because when the IOC, a huge international non-state actor, is policing gender, it suggests there is a standard for being a “woman, for being a “good” athlete, and that everyone should fit a very scientific heteronormative narrative. For an event supposed to be about inclusion and international unity, they have a very odd way of showing it. Not to mention the fact that wealth has more to influence athletic ability than near anything else.

Are You A Fan of the Olympics?

Chris Savage's Alternative Logo

via BBC’s alternative logo contest in 2007

Why?

Oh, sure, the sports. Surely that’s not it. You can go to local game. Or join a team and play yourself — or if you used to play, I bet you have some old tapes of you doing so. Maybe you can switch to digital and get nostalgic for an afternoon.

But no, it’s important to you to watch the OLYMPICS. IN LONDON. IN 2012 (only half a year left till the end of the world, everyone!).

Well, of course! It’s the most prominent, public international event ever — and definitely the most fun. In this case, a fan can be anyone who watches the Olympics for the sports, the athletes, or perhaps something else: the idea that playing games together brings the international community together. It’s an amazing display of diplomacy as associated with one of the top five things that makes us happy: sports.

Well, that’s supposed to be the point, but then McDonald’s is the official Olympic restaurant (?), NBC is going crazy over it being Michael Phelps’s last Olympics (!), and Saudi Arabia apparently has No Female Athletes — wait no now they do — wait, nevermind (?!). And then the LOCOG is telling fans they can’t make free commemorative pillows for the athletes, while Ryan Lochte is going to dazzle us all with his…swimming. Then there’s the IOC, who are like the Dumbledore of the Olympics (but only if you read the last book).

But what are the “medal-heads” in it for? Why are you a fan of the Olympics?