Gold-medal swimmer Ryan Lochte took the 2012 London Olympics by storm, bursting onto the scene to break records and rack up 11 medals.
Now 31, the heartthrob swimming sensation is coming back for round two. But things are a little bit different this time.
For starters, he just failed to qualify for the Olympic 400 meter individual medley — an event in which he took home gold last time around. And, while in 2012 he was something of a social media sensation thanks to his chiseled jawline, toned physique, and trademarked catchphrase “Jeah!”, the athlete now seems to have put to rest some of his rowdier attributes, “Jeah” included.
In a new interview with GQ, Lochte says we can expect a “more mature” star in Rio this summer.
“Now that I’m more mature, it’s time to focus more on the swimming part and less on the outside part,” he said. After switching coaches, moving cities, and suffering from a dip in his performance, Lochte says he’s finally back on track to repeat his 2012 successes, now stronger and leaner than before. He’s also more hairless than before, having undergone laser hair removal so that he’s “sleek as a board” when he hits the water, gaining that hydrodynamic advantage. Another plus? “I think ladies love swimmers because we’re hairless,” Lochte says.
Speaking of ladies, he recently joined Tinder, which we imagine will be a boon once all the athletes hit Rio’s Olympic Village. Hundreds of incredibly fit young people packed together on vacation? Sounds like spring break on steroids. But Lochte was quick to note that the Village isn’t necessarily the Dionysian free-for-all that we might imagine it to be — for the U.S. team, at least.
“You can’t have girls in a guy’s room or guys in a girl’s room,” he explained of the strict U.S. code of conduct. “No alcohol. You’re there to compete, you’re not there to party. So once swimming is all said and done if you want to do those kind of things, you have to leave the Village and go on your own.”
Watch out, Rio.