Ryan Lochte. Why did the hype machine fire up on this guy to begin with?

He’s clearly a great swimmer, no doubt about that, but why was he being hailed as the Phelps-destroyer and next-big-thing? He doesn’t seem to have done anything to set himself apart at these Os (other than win some medals, but alot of people have won some medals). He’s on about 85% of the commercials that are aired during the games.

Is it that he’s better looking than Phelps or something? He seems like kind of a douche. Also, isn’t he the same age as Phelps?

Is this kid overhyped?

I was under the impression it was because he was consistently beating Phelps in the qualifying and trial runs leading up to the Olympics.

I think the media are tiring of Phelps. He’s a boring guy.

He had an established record of success at worlds and Olympics before this. He’s taken Phelps down, repeatedly, in events that Phelps has dominated for years. He’s repeadetly broken time records. He’s qualified for multiple Olympic events – remarkable in itself, despite popular complaints of “there’s too many swimming events”. He’s swimming an absurdly difficult schedule this Olympic meet – less than 20 minutes between finals and still considered a contender for gold.

If Phelps wasn’t around, it’d be Lochte that the media would be flogging at us with hourly interviews and retrospectives. They tend to focus on a few proven “stars” each Olympics; it’s just, the last few Olympics, Phelps has been the Chosen One. Lochte meets all their criteria… if Phelps hadn’t dragged the bar up so high.

All that, and he’s good-looking, quirky, and girls think he’s dreamy.

Its the diamond grill.

Dismissing Lochte’s performances by saying “a lot of people have won some medals” is selling him short. He’s won five medals in these games (more than any swimmer other than Phelps), and has won 11 medals total, second most by an American swimmer (tied with Matt Biondi, and behind Phelps). He’s not just a great swimmer; by any reasonable standard he’s one of the greatest swimmers ever.

It’s the douchebag factor. But it’s a low-key, inarticulate kind of douchebag factor. Phelps will flash his giant teeth and say something cute; Lochte will just squint and grunt.

Didn’t Mark Spitz win 11 medals total? (Seven gold in Munich, and gold-gold-silver-bronze in Mexico City?)

Ah, you’re right. I forgot about the non-golds in 68. So tied with Spitz, too.