2012 London Olympics: Day Four – Ryan Lochte’s Harem

Ryan Lochte does to a medal what many women would like to do to him.

John Scott Lewinskiby John Scott Lewinski

Evidently, women find American swimmer Ryan Lochte somewhat attractive.

Only my finely honed reporter’s instincts enabled me to detect this subtle reaction. Upon attending one day of Olympic Swimming and observing two others from the big media center screens at the London Media Centre, I detected a certain rise in the excitement level whenever Lochte headed poolside. And that murmur of collected gasps only intensified when he stripped off his warmups not to his little bun-hugger trunks.

Women gather in packs whenever Lochte appears. Some try to hide their attraction while wandering from the flock and watching enraptured from a distance. Others cling to each other, as if confirming with the other that what she’s seeing is real. You’ve seen similar reactions by young women in old footage of crowds taking in Elvis Presley or The Beatles.

I’m still investigating exactly what women find so desirable about Lochte. I think all the fuss might have something to do with the fact that he’s handsome with a crooked “boy next door,” come hither smile. Also, his swimming career has given him a perfect male physique. Finally, his success here in London – with a Gold and Silver medal around his well-muscled neck so far – promises plenty of lucrative endorsement deals heading his way.

I think I might’ve hit on something there. He’s young, good looking and soon to be wealthy.

I chased down a couple ladies dazzled by Lochte and asked them to verbalize their take on this damp superstar.

London UK Marketing professional – a Liverpool native and former professional dancer – Annie Kearney took an eyeful of Lochte and offered a very un-British, “Hot dog! He’s really gorgeous. If he’s not the smartest guy on the block, he doesn’t need to be smart. I’ve got brains. Let’s get married.”

For a moment there, I thought she was proposing to me, but she was just projecting her thoughts across the Olympic Park to Lochte. Welcome to my life.

Shannon Donlan, an American from Virginia, seemed interested in the Olympics only because of Lochte’s participation. Though recently and happily married, Donlan referred to Lochte as her boyfriend and said she hoped the media credentials hanging around my neck might earn her access to her favorite aqua man.

“He’s just gorgeous,” Donlan said. “If you have a chance to talk to him, tell him I love him.”

I don’t expect having media access to Lochte, but I assured Donlan’s delusions that America’s favorite new dog paddler loved her, too.

Unfortunately, Lochte’s new popularity with the ladies is coming with a little controversy in the sports world. While the lead up to these London Games focused so intensely on Michael Phelps and his quest for more aquatic gold, it’s Lochte who’s eclipsing his record setting teammate. Add to that the way Lochte whizzed away team gold against the French in yesterday’s relay, and he might not be the most popular athlete right now amongst U.S. male fans.

But the ladies couldn’t care less. I’ll remember that the next time I’m ordering food in the London Media Centre canteen and the counter lady drops curried lamb on my forearm because she’s watching Lochte strut on TV.