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More brawn than brains, but do Ryan Lochte's personal choices matter?

Ryan Lochte of the U.S., wearing his dental braces, holds his bronze medal during the men's 200m backstroke victory ceremony during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre August 2, 2012.

Michael Dalder/Reuters

He sports camouflage shorts, neon green sneakers and a painfully stupid look on his face. He could be a cartoon character 'jock' – he is almost too much of a stereotypical meathead to believe, with the bulging muscles, the silly grin and the less-than-eloquent interviews.

He'd be easy to shrug off at the bar, but he's impossible to ignore on TV since he's one of the finest athletes at the Olympic games.

Maybe because it's his 28th birthday, but it seems all headlines are focused on Ryan Lochte today – less for his impressive athleticism, more for his ridiculous style, including his American-flag grill, and stupid remarks (this mash-up of awkward/incomprehensible responses is worth a watch, or seven.)

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But among the countless this-guy-cannot-be-serious moments (there are just too many to cite – but his classy 'jeah!' trademark slogan, paired with his series of home workout videos, 'Lochte Hard-core' gives you a good idea), one stood out, only because we can picture the dudliest dude of them all cringing when he heard his mom talk about his sex life.

His mom, Ike, told Today in a televised interview that her son "goes out on one-night stands. He's not able to give fully to a relationship because he's always on the go."

He quickly clarified – to US Weekly, of all quality establishments – "What she meant is that I do go out on dates, but it's not that thing that everyone is talking about, because that's not me."

Not so fast, Mr. Lochte. Aren't you the same guy who told ESPN last month that having a girlfriend was a "big mistake"?

"Now I'm single, so London should be really good," he told the magazine, going on to guess that "70 to 75 per cent of Olympians" would have sex during the Olympics. "Hey, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do."

Aaaand stereotypical status reinstated.

What do you think – does an Olympian's behaviour factor in to how hard you root for them? Does his athleticism get overshadowed by his antics?

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If he were Canadian, would we love him anyway?

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About the Author
Editor in the Opinion section

Amberly McAteer is an editor in the Opinion section at The Globe and Mail. She has been a homepage editor, online editor and community editor in Features - including Life, Travel, Style, Arts and Books. She's written columns about her quest to run a 10K and find the perfect dog. More

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