It was great to see Ryan Lochte win the first gold medal for the U.S. on Saturday night. He rocked an interesting look on the podium, sporting what appeared to be a grill modeled after an American flag. Did anyone else catch this? I can’t tell if he is serious about them or wearing them in jest.
Well, that’s certainly a way to differentiate himself from Michael Phelps, if nothing else.
The famous rivalry still seems to be threatening to overshadow Lochte’s accomplishments at these Olympics. Sure, I think we can all acknowledge that Phelps owned Beijing and got the press and attention he deserved, but the tide seems to have turned slightly with Lochte commanding center stage in his debut outing in the Men’s 400m Individual Medley.
The fact that Phelps didn’t medal in this event is as much a story as the fact that Lochte did, with the Sunday New York Times front page, above-the-fold story bearing the headline, “Phelps Lags Behind Lochte and Misses a Medal”. In fairness, they then gave flattering treatment to Lochte in the sports section, loudly declaring a “New Pecking Order in the Pool”.
Still, it seems Lochte has a ways to go before there’s a new pecking order in the press. For shame.