When people hear the name “Ryan Lochte,” there’s no way to know what first comes to mind. Is it the Olympics, where he first became famous as a swimmer? Is it his 12 Olympic medals won over four different Games? Is it his now-defunct bro-riffic reality show “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?” Is it the embarrassing, drunken gas station fake robbery at the 2016 Rio Olympics that earned him a 10-month suspension? Or perhaps his stint on “Dancing With the Stars?”
Regardless of what comes to mind, Lochte, 34, is primarily a swimmer, and he’s been mostly out of the spotlight for the last 14 months. He’s been serving a suspension for breaking the rules concerning intravenous infusions, but according to the swimming website Swim Swam, that suspension will be lifted on Wednesday — exactly a year before the Tokyo Games get under way.
You know what that means: prepare yourself for a possible Ryan Lochte comeback.
What would a Ryan Lochte comeback entail? It would definitely start with swimming. He’s said that he wants to try to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which means he needs to get started immediately. He’s only competed in 24 races since the Rio Olympics, but Swim Swam reported that Lochte has remained in the USADA testing pool and has been tested twice in 2019, which means he’s eligible to compete right away.
The window to qualify for the upcoming National Championship closes on Tuesday, the day before his suspension is over, but there is the possibility of a late submission. And missing Nationals doesn’t mean he can’t make the National Team and receive funding. He has until August 25 to complete a qualifying swim in an Olympic event and place in the top six.
Lochte has been training during his suspension, and hasn’t entirely stayed out of the spotlight. He sought treatment for alcohol addiction in October, which his lawyer said had been an ongoing issue for years. He appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in January. He and his wife welcomed their second child, a daughter, in June. He’s been mentored by former MLB pariah Alex Rodriguez, who remade his own image to overcome PED suspensions and has found great success.
Maybe having a wife and kids (and undergoing treatment for alcohol addiction) will mean that a possible Lochte comeback will be limited to just swimming. He’s already been on every reality show imaginable, and he even had his own at one point. There isn’t much more of the reality show mountain left to scale. And jumping back into that reality show life doesn’t seem like something Alex Rodriguez would approve of.
With his wife, kids, and A-Rod in his corner, hopefully Lochte can focus on swimming and find a way to wrap up his career in style with one final Olympics appearance. That would be the storybook ending to his wild, wild swimming career.
But still, you never know. Be prepared in case someone decides to film “Look At What Ryan Lochte Did” as a sequel to his first reality show.
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