The Style 411 On Grill-Wearing Olympic Swimmer Ryan Lochte

Ryan Lochte wears an American flag grill set during the Men’s 400m Individual Medley medal ceremony at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Photo: Getty Images

Let’s talk about Ryan Lochte. He’s the 27-year-old American swimmer who made his Olympic debut at the 2004 Athens Olympics when he was just 19. He swam alongside Olympic phenom Michael Phelps (ever heard of him?) in the men’s 400m individual medley this weekend and won GOLD for the good ol’ U-S-of-A. BUT he was reportedly in danger of not receiving his medal because of a controversial accessory move en route to the podium: the dude popped in a set of American flag grills. It’s not like we’ve never seen grills before (we ARE the network that brought you From G’s to Gents sweetheart Riff Raff after all), it’s just that, when you’re part of a team that has posh Opening Ceremony uniforms crafted by Ralph Lauren complete with smart little berets, throwing on a pair of diamond grills is definitely a curveball. For a dude to pull a style stunt this ballsy, we KNEW there had to be more to this budding fashion icon, so we did a little research. To follow are our findings, and in the spirit of the international games, we’re doling out (and subtracting) points as they contribute to Ryan’s overall style score.


Ryan Lochte wears Jeremy Scott for adidas Originals sneakers during the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team Trials.
Photo: Getty Images

Any dude who straps on a pair of these star-spangled Jeremy Scott for adidas Originals winged sneakers has a one-way ticket straight to our hearts. Not only is he up on his streetwear, he has instant sneakerhead cred. Plus, representing the U.S. in the Olympic games is more than an excuse to amp up the Americana in your wardrobe. Plus 15 points.


Ryan Lochte’s sneakers during the medal ceremony for the Men’s 200m Backstroke during the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team Trials.
Photo: Getty Images

Soooo he isn’t quite clear on what a caftan is, and he describes his personal style as “rockstar swagger”, but you have to give respect to a SWIMMER with his own SNEAKER design collaboration, seeing as the footwear isn’t really necessary in the pool. These aren’t your grandfather’s tennis shoes either. Lochte teamed up with Speedo to create these kelly green, rhinestone-encrusted high-tops for a design that’s every bit as head-turning and heart-stopping as Lochte himself. Plus 50 points.


Ryan Lochte’s alligator tattoo.
Photo: Getty Images

Alright, so we recognize this is kiiind of a low blow since the ink on Ryan’s right shoulder blade is PERMANENT, but we’re not necessarily the biggest fans of Lochte’s gator tatt. We get that it’s symbolic and sentimental with the gator hearkening back to his University of Florida alma mater and the Greek text that says “First” as a competitive motivator. That said, we’ve definitely seen worse tattoos in our day. But we also think Lotche’s reptilian ink looks less like a ferocious swamp beast and leans more toward The Sobe Lizard. Who, incidentally, also wears grills. Minus 5 points.


Ryan Lochte during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games.
Photo: Getty Images

The ladyfolk writers of MTV Style are but mere mortals. Thus, the sight of a one Mr. Ryan Lochte in these technicolor, flower power swim briefs has reduced us all to gelatin. Any man who can make neon pink and next-to-nakedness work THIS well is a definite winner in our books. Plus 20 points.


Ryan Lochte wears a fedora to a USA team training session.
Photo: Getty Images

Unfortunately, this just about negates the previous “outfit.” Fedoras (especially when juxtaposed with pyramid studs and camouflage) should be reserved for the cast of Gangster Squad and Justin Timberlake circa FutureSex/LoveSounds. Minus 20 points.


Ryan Lochte models during a press conference to debut the new Speedo FASTSKIN 3.
Photo: Getty Images

Ryan Lochte is a versatile guy. Not only can he sit down at the drawing board to design a sneaker collaboration, he can ALSO turn around and work the runway. He may have goggles occupying the majority of his facial real estate, but we can tell by the angle of those cheek bones that dude is smizing hard enough to conjour Tyra Banks. Also, this is another excuse for us to stare at his Olympic physique. Plus 10 points.


Ryan Lochte wears a British guard uniform with sneakers for the USOC Portrait Shoot.
Photo: Getty Images

Lochte was game enough to saddle up in this British guard uniform for a London-themed USOC photo shoot. While Ryan’s interpretation would likely be a liiiiittle too disheveled for the Queen – unbuttoned coat, no waist-cinching belt, baggy pants, CHUCKS – we have to give him points for infusing his personality into the classic costume. He even gets a bit of extra credit for knowing to keep a straight face! Unless that’s just his natural reaction to being in this situation. Regardless, plus 25 points.

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