Ryan Lochte's world: Hip-hop, skateboarding and jokes

Other News Materials 12 August 2008 20:23 (UTC +04:00)

Ryan Lochte said he was "holding down the G-Spot," but in fact he had just got back home following advertising commitments in Los Angeles, the dpa reported.

That's how he likes things: jokes, innuendos, water balloons, hip- hop, skateboarding and an almost invariably sleepy voice. Welcome to the world of US Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte.

In the long shadow of megastar compatriot Michael Phelps, Lochte remains an outstanding, top-notch swimmer. A good friend of the man who is out to bring down the myth of Mark Spitz, the lighthearted sportsman seems to be the opposite of Phelps.

Phelps is tall, thin and lanky. Lochte is shorter, more compact. But they both share a passion for hip-hop, women and expensive cars.

They even have their own code: every text message they send each other (and there are a lot of them) starts with "Young Jeezy says 'jeah,'" or some times just "jeah."

Phelps has admitted that they almost never talk about swimming and prefer to goof around instead. Young Jeezy does exist: He is a rapper who indeed says "jeah."

And the G-Spot, in this case, has nothing to do with anatomy, but is the way Lochte referred to his hometown - Gainesville, Florida - in his blog at swimroom.com.

Isn't Lochte serious enough? It would be unfair to say that.

Rather, you can say he is special. His father told a recent edition of Sports Illustrated that he arranges his T-shirts by colour. And he is such a swimming talent that he probably would be a lot more famous if Phelps was not around.

Handsome, with a surfer look and slow talk, he is ahead of Phelps in the preferences of many female - and male - fans.

But Lochte will not enter the Water Cube in Beijing Wednesday to seduce the crowd with his looks, but to qualify for Thursday's 200m backstroke and 200m medley finals.

He is the world champion and world record holder in 200m breaststroke, and in the 200m medley he is holding a tough fight with Phelps.

They share the 10 best times in history - three for Lochte, seven for Phelps - in the discipline. The last time they swam against each other, in the US trials for Beijing, Phelps won by just 0.27 seconds.

"Some swimmers are swimming for second against Michael, because they don't feel they can beat him," Lochte says. "I'm the total opposite. I feel I can beat him."

This is the man who just over a year ago convinced a group of friends at the University of Florida to attack with water balloon the spectators of an open-air concert on campus.

Everything went well until the police showed up. Ryan and his friends dived into some bushes and got away with it.

A while ago, he again found himself in a bush in a scooter accident, which cost him an injury and the anger of his coach Gregg Troy and his father, the true engine behind Lochte's career.

His girlfriend was also the victim of past pranks. Lochte once left a flaming bag of excrement before her door, rang the doorbell and ran. The girl tried to put out the fire, and found herself stained by something that did not quite smell of flowers.

But that is all in the past. The moment of truth for Lochte will be between Wednesday and Thursday, as he seeks to find out whether he has come of age as a swimmer.