The Playwickian

Sportorial: Time to Grow Up, Ryan

The+USA+swimming+team+poses+with+thier+medals.+
The USA swimming team poses with thier medals.

The USA swimming team poses with thier medals.

Photo via Google under creative commons license

Photo via Google under creative commons license

The USA swimming team poses with thier medals.

Shane Schuchardt, Staff Writer

One of the most anticipated  events every four years is the Summer Olympic games, headlined by some of America’s favorite sports including track and field, swimming, and gymnastics. During the Olympics, Ryan Lochte conjured up almost all of the discussions distracting from the competitions. Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky both brought home medals while Lochte drank, made up a story about being robbed, and vandalized a gas station bathroom.

It all started on Aug. 14 when Lochte and three teammates were on their way home to the athlete’s village after a night of partying. While their cab stopped for gas, Lochte claimed he was robbed at gunpoint.  Several eyewitness accounts and security camera footage revealed that the owner of the gas station was the person pointing the gun at the swimmers after they vandalized a bathroom and refused to pay for the damages.

Lochte initially stuck to his original story of being robbed, but eventually admitted that his “being highly intoxicated… led to the incident” as reported by Fox News. The main issue of the incident was not the vandalism, but the falsely filed crime report. In Brazil, this crime carries an 18-month prison sentence. The charges were eventually dropped due to an “$11,000 donation to a Brazilian charity by fellow swimmer James Feigen,” as reported by CNN.

Fallout immediately followed. Lochte soon lost all four of his major sponsors—Speedo USA, Ralph Lauren, Gentle Hair Removal, and Airweave. Lochte was given a 10 month suspension which will exclude him from the 2017 national championships and the 2017 FINA World Championships.

ABC was looking to capitalize on his polarizing image by casting him on the current season of “Dancing with the Stars.” If you think about it,  Lochte’s true calling is not swimming, but reality TV.  NPR describes Lochte as the “platonic ideal of bro-dom”, describing this as “jockish, dudely and preppy” men who tend to belong to fraternities. On reality TV, he can party, hang out with as many girls as he wants, and fight with whomever he pleases.

A story like this genuinely upsets me. As an athlete myself, I hate when a professional athlete does something this bone-headed.  Not all jocks are terrible people who seek out trouble, but people like Lochte are the reason athletes have such a negative stereotype.

It is time for Lochte to be honest with himself.  He is 32, and the only individual event he competed in did not lead to a medal.  He has only won two individual gold medals, and the other four medals he has won have been relays where he did not race his greatest rival, Phelps.  When he was younger and more successful, this act was tolerable. Lochte needs to move on from his frat boy ways, hang up his name-brand swimsuit (he cannot wear Speedo anymore as a result of the Rio incidents), and figure out what to do with the rest of his life.

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Sportorial: Time to Grow Up, Ryan