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.
“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.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.
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.