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British People Don't Really Care That Much About Ryan Lochte

Or know much about him.

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That's Ryan Lochte. You know that, of course. British people however, don't. Well, definitely not to the same degree that Americans do. Stateside everything from his habit of having one-night stands to his Twitter spelling errors is practically common knowledge, over in London he's still that guy who's not Michael Phelps. Here's a sampling of Olympic Park visitors I stopped to ask just who the hell this Ryan Lochte kid is, and then what, if anything, they knew about him other than that he's not Michael Phelps. Spoiler: not much. (And a lot of people who didn't know got embarrassed and then wouldn't have their pictures taken, which is just so British.)

Clemmie, Jake & Vladimir*

*likely not his real name, because teens will be teens.

Jake: "Swimmer!"

Vlad: "He's the guy who's been in Michael Phelps' shadow for a while, maybe he'll be able to step out now that Phelps is talking about retiring."

Note: "Vlad" also said he's a member of Team GB's under 16 swimming squad, which explained why he knew so much about Ryan. As with his exotic name, that may or may not be legit.


Laura & John

John: "We heard his name being shouted everywhere in the stadium this morning. Don't know who he is though."

Laura: "Yeah, there were a lot of cheers. People must love him."

Note: It's unlikely there'd be cheers for Lochte during athletics heats, but who knows, his star is on the rise. John and Laura probably just got confused.

Victoria & Don

Victoria: "No... we've only really gotten into the athletics these Games. Can you give us a clue?"

[He's a swimmer.]

Don: "Oh, yeah, we don't really watch the swimming because Team GB doesn't do well there."



"He swims, swims for the USA. Why can't we talk about British athletes?"

Note: Rich's friend Liz jumped in here. She didn't want to be photographed because she's volunteering at the Olympic Park, but she had this to say — breathlessly:
"Oh my GOD he's the swimmer, he's so beautiful. Beautiful. All the Games workers love him, he's beautiful, we talk about him all the time."
I asked if she had the chance to meet him.
"Ugh, I wish. I wish I could — if I had higher security clearance on my ID I'd be following him around the Athletes' Village."


Hazel & Pamela

Hazel: "We don't know much about him, but he seems like a lovely boy. He swims, doesn't he? Yes, we saw his picture in the newspapers. Maybe we'll get to know him more if he keeps going."

Pamela: "He needs to beat that Michael Phelps."

Coco & Flo

Flo: "Is he the hot blond one? No, wait, let me check on my phone. I want to look at pictures, how do you spell his name?"

[The interview pauses for Flo to check, and then for her to be hit on by some skeezy French guys.]

"Oh yeah, oh I like him now. He's good looking, yeah, yeah. Could he be the new Michael Phelps? Wait, is that the other swimmer? Oh, well maybe I need to look at more pictures but I think he's cuter."

Coco: [giggles]

And this is how Ryan Lochte feels about all this: