London Olympics notebook: Ryan Lochte goes for tabloid gold


LONDON — If Michael Phelps has positioned himself as the retiring elder statesman of U.S. swimming, on the receiving end of a tweet and a call from President Obama, Ryan Lochte might be edging toward the role of swimming’s bad boy.

Lochte proclaimed these Olympics “my time” for months in advance, then won two gold medals in six events. He swam his last event on Thursday night and promptly embarked on a media blitz, including appearances on NBC, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, Eurosport, E! and Access Hollywood.

He also did a radio interview with Ryan Seacrest, in which Lochte confessed that he urinated in the warm-up pool at the Olympics. TMZ picked up the story and blasted it across the Web within an hour.


Lochte’s mother, Ileana Lochte, got into the act too, telling NBC her son was too busy for a committed relationship.

“He goes out on one-night stands,” she said Thursday. “He’s not able to give fully to a relationship because he’s always on the go.”

By Friday, Lochte and his mother each scrambled into damage-control mode. Both said the “one-night” referred not to hookups but to dates, in the interest of not leading a woman on to believe a committed relationship might be in the cards.

“How innocent is that?” Lochte’s mother told USA Today. “All I wanted to say is that he’s so sensitive about not wanting to hurt a girl dating, so he just goes and dates and takes out a girl for maybe one or two dates and doesn’t have a relationship because he doesn’t have [time] and it’s not fair to the women.”

Lochte blamed the media for twisting the comments of a mother not used to the spotlight.

“She didn’t really understand that they were going to twist it and make it bad,” Lochte said. “She definitely was like, ‘Why would they do that?’ She is so oblivious to everything.”

Or not. In an ESPN interview published last month, Lochte estimated that “70 percent to 75 percent” of athletes in the Olympic village would engage in sex.


“My last Olympics, I had a girlfriend — big mistake,” Lochte said. “Now I’m single, so London should be really good. I’m excited.”

In the interview with Seacrest, Lochte said he plans to move to Los Angeles after the Olympics. Here’s guessing TMZ has not seen the last of him.

— Bill Shaikin

Rider’s age, 71, is only a number

Japanese equestrian Hiroshi Hoketsu is the oldest competitor in London at 71, having made his Olympic debut in the 1964 Tokyo Games — 21 years before Phelps was born.

But the thing that keeps him coming back, he says, is the hope that he’ll get better at his sport.

“The biggest motivation [is to] feel I’m improving,” Hoketsu told the Guardian newspaper after competing in Thursday’s dressage individual Grand Prix event. “If I feel, ‘OK, I’m getting worse,’ I will stop.”


But Hoketsu, who studied at Duke University in North Carolina, concedes that age may force him to stop first. Not his age but that of his horse, Whisper, a 15-year-old chestnut.

“I want to return,” he said in reference to Rio de Janeiro and the 2016 Games. “But I don’t think I can. My present horse is too old for that.”

— Kevin Baxter


British sprinter Fran Halsall was understandably swift to come to the defense of her swimming teammate Rebecca Adlington, who took the bronze in the 800-meter freestyle.

The BBC, in fact, was handling Adlington’s surprise result in a restrained manner. But Halsall, who qualified for Saturday’s final in the 50 freestyle, said the world-record holder and defending champion had nothing to be disappointed about.

“I’d chew off my right arm to have a bronze medal,” Halsall said.

— Lisa Dillman


Biola grad runs for Guam

Biola University graduate Amy Atkinson will have some first-person Olympic stories to share with her students when she launches her teaching career in a few weeks.

Atkinson, who played on Biola’s women’s soccer team as an undergraduate and returned to the private Christian university in La Mirada to get her teaching credential last year, will compete for Guam in the women’s 800-meter run.

She was 12 when she and her family moved to Guam, a U.S. territory where her father is a pastor and her parents and two brothers still live. Atkinson needed five years of consecutive residency to represent the island but far exceeded the minimum because she maintained her residency there while studying at Biola.

Atkinson went through a qualifying competition to earn her place on Guam’s eight-person Olympic team, no small feat given her busy days. The first round of the 800 is Wednesday.

“I was training while doing full-time student teaching this past semester, which was extremely time-consuming but totally worth every moment,” she said via email from the Olympic village.

“I had to train before and after teaching most days, with my hardest/longest workouts on the weekends. My schedule was mainly consumed by training, teaching, eating, sleeping and lesson planning.”


— Helene Elliott