Ryan Lochte caught in high water during Olympics

Christopher Jones
Mesa Legend

Chris JonesWe all know of stereotypes, everyone acts on them in some way or another; and for society, stereotypes are usually a burden. Assumed characteristics based on past actions by people in similar circumstances to determine as they once were, are now, and always will be seen as such. In this age of celebrating individuality and being proud of who you are one would think that stereotypes would begin to fade away with the past because in reality living by stereotypes couldn’t be any more misleading. These days’ people are rarely as perceived to be.  And then, sometimes, you see someone like Ryan Lochte open his mouth. And then you hear what comes pouring out, it all makes sense why stereotypes aren’t going anywhere. Lochte and his friends have become the poster boys of America to the rest of the world.

Nothing says “I’m an American tourist!” like landing in a host city, taking personal glory from it, partying it up and then to leave the place in more disarray than you found it.  The locals have become resentful, and now a forever bitter taste of Americans will last in their lives.  What a move, dude. You have your fun, get wrecked, anger a gas station, you break its bathroom door, you claim to have been robbed, and blame it all on the “crappy Brazilians.” Lochte flew out of Brazil to the U.S. on Tuesday August 16, days before his story about being jumped at the Rio Petrol station by assailants disguised as police officers unraveled- therefore, he can’t really be charged with anything, even by livid Brazilian authorities, for the mess left behind.

Of course it’s human nature to deflect attention away from themselves when they have done the wrong in a situation. Any person could have done the same just as easily as Lochte and his friends did. Perhaps the same reaction would have come from a rower from Rwanda or a gymnast from Denmark, but that wasn’t what happened. Ryan ‘Lying’ Lochte – Ugly American with an even uglier hair style – did it. So, beyond the obvious not being a proper Olympian full of honor and integrity dedicated to a sport, he characterized the stereotype of an “Ugly American” a person who cannot be a good guest in a foreign nation.  My fellow travelers get ready for stares on the streets in Prague and over-curious questions from the cab driver. Let’s put the antics aside for Lochte because it surely has not been an easy task playing in their prime with someone by the name of Michael Phelps, who isn’t necessarily a model citizen either, but has earned 28 Olympic medals that makes Lochte’s 12 pedestrian at best.

To stand out in the media Lochte has resorted to his goofiness during interviews. It’s not too hard for him, because even playing second fiddle to Phelps, Lochte was still making millions outside the pool with Speedo, Mutual of Omaha, Gillette, Gatorade, Proctor and Gamble, Ralph Lauren, Nissan, and AT&T; although he took a big hit with endorsements after his incident in Rio losing about half of these sponsors. He even dabbled in show business and reality TV shows such as 30 Rock, 90210, and is expected to appear on this next season of Dancing with the Stars on ABC.  Last but not least he dates a Playboy model.If the authorities are right about what happened, the brawl with a Rent-a-cop over a busted door could not have ended much worse than the second part, of which what we know did happen, and cried wolf lying on the group that he victimized. He then left for home leaving behind his friends to fend for themselves.

We now look to what action either the USOC or even the IOC will take regarding his actions. If you ask Mario Andrada, the spokesman for the Rio 2016 Olympics, he’ll probably repeat what he said after authorities revealed what actually happened and request we “Give these kids a break,” but one thing is that Lochte isn’t a kid anymore. He’s 32, very much an adult by all or at least many standards most of us are aware of.  The IOC has set up an investigation into what happened that night and another participant in the night, James Feigen, has paid Brazil a fine in order to leave. Fact is that Lochte is not a kid, but he did destroy someone’s private property paid for that, but the crime that has not been addressed is him falsely accusing the security guards of the petrol station of robbery to the media and Brazilian officials.  You take from it for yourself what to take from this whole bizarre situation and what consequences if any should follow.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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