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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

It's time to lay off of Ryan Lochte.

*(I have recently discovered that creating my blog posts while utlizing my Ipad can result in additional characters added to the text, especially in the title line.  I apologize for the distraction, which hopefully has been addressed.)

The 2016 Rio Olympics waved goodbye to the world last night, as the flame began the initial leg of its next journey to Japan, for the 2020 Summer Olympics.  I assume the flame which will herald the commencement of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchamg, South Korea, is also somewhere out there on the move.  When I realized today that the 2018 Winter Games are going to be in Korea, I was a bit surprised; Seoul, South Korea hosted the Summer Games in 1988.  To earn the honor of hosting two Olympic Games within thirty years seems a bit sketchy, but paying for it all can bankrupt a country, so if South Korea has the coin, who am I to complain?  Regarding the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, a number of blogs dedicated to imternational sports have considered the probability that US swimmer and multi-medal winner Ryan Lochte will be denied the opportunity to compete.  Lochte will be 36 yrs old in 2020, but some truly gifted swimmers have been known to stay competitive into their 40's.  As a reminder, Lochte continues to receive an avalanche of criticsm and bad press relating to the scandal that became the top story of the games for roughly one week.  On August 14, Lochte called his mother from Brazil and told her that he and three other US swimmers had been robbed at gunpoint the night before.  Without rehashing all the leaks and claims and counter-claims, suffice to say that Lochte lied to his mother, who made the mistake of immediately repeating her son's story to the press.  Since the opening ceremonies, the international press has been straining at the bit, hoping for some criminal event involving an Olympic athlete, to justify concerns regarding Brazil's acknowledged crime problem.  Once the police interviewed the other three swimmers, it became apparent that Lochte had added certain elements and eliminated others, probably to make himself look better.  Eventually the other three swimmers were allowed to tell their stories, which did not necessarily discount Lochte's general claim.

The four swimmers were very drunk as they made their way back to their Olympic lodgings on the morning of August 14.  They attempted to open the door to what they believed to be a restroom, and one of the young men broke the lock.  They discovered that the door did not, in fact, lead to a toilet, so the four Americans did what most guys their age (any age?) would do in the same predicament: they availed themselves of some nearby shrubbery.  After urinating, the young men discovered that they had attracted the attention of two security guards.  At least two of the drunk Americans thought that the uniformed and armed guards were police officers.  A discussion ensued, during which a bystander attempted to translate.  He must have done a poor job, because both the guards and the athletes became angry.  All four Americans were convinced that they were being shaken down for money.  The security guard claims that he was trying to collect money for the owner of the broken door/lock.  It appears that Lochte was most vocal in insisting that no money was going to change hands.  A pistol was pulled, and, not surprisingly, the Americans quickly decided to give up the cash. How much money they gave is still unknown, as is the ultimate recipient of the cash.  Eventually, the Americans returned to their lodging.  The next day, Lochte's mother served up the story to the international press, and included all the details he had allegedly shared with her.  According to her story, and one that Lochte was to repeat later in an interview with Matt Lauer, the young Americans were in a taxi, and after stopping to urinate, were accosted by four men in police uniforms.  Lochte claimed that a pistol was actually pointed at his head.  So after comparing the two stories, its simple to see where Lochte embelished his version of the event.

The next day, Lochte was contacted by Brazilian authorities, who were not happy that the four swimmers had decided not to call the police.  All four claim that Lochte made the decision not to call the police; given how drunk they were, Lochte was concerned that reporting the event might cause them trouble with both the US Olympic authorities and the International Olympic Committee.  Lochte already has his plane ticket in hand before the morning of the 14th.  The Brazilians did not take his passport or request that he stay in country, so he returned home in order to keep up with a pre-existing schedule.  He DID NOT desert his three companions, as the press continues to falsely claim.  Actually, the media and the entertainment industry have been growing fat on this scandal.  After the 2012 Olympics, Lochte became a bit of a celebrity.  He was given a reality show (which failed), and contracts with Speedo and Ralph Lauren.  With his all-American good-looks and his physique, the media started following Lochte and reporting on his personal life.  In the run-up to the Rio games, Lochte was receiving more press than Michael Phelps.

No doubt Lochte exaggerrated the events of that evening, probably because the actual event doesn't leave anyone looking very "brave".  But what are the most important elements of this story?  The four young Americans were held at gunpoint until money exchanged hands.  The rest is just noise, although to Lochte, it's very expensive noise.  He has been dropped by just about all of his sponsors, including Speedo and Ralph Lauren, and in all likelihood will be "persona non grata" with the International Olympic Committee.  Today, the day after the closing ceremonies, CNN continually ran stories and commentary that accused Lochte of being a liar, a thug, and a criminal.  One CNN guest compared Lochte to the recent controversial police shootings in the United States, claiming that instead of targeting innocent African -American young men, the police should be arresting Lochte!  MSNBC was more of the same, and Al Roker at NBC, who is a buffoon on a good day, loudly exclaimed that Lochte wasn't being punished enough.  The Huffington Post, which like most leftist garbage media, jumps at the chance to kick an American before an international audience, annointed Roker "the internet king", for his comments about Lochte.  The hypocrisy is so thick and so typical.  Before the Olympics, Roker fawned over Lochte, as did all the US media.  Here is a news flash: the Ryan Lochte that now serves as the media's kicking boy, is the same Ryan Lochte that was repeatedly built up and shoved down our throats after the 2012 Olympics.  Anyone who watched even five minutes of his reality show could deduce that Lochte was not the sharpest tool in the shed, or the one most likely to make good decisions.  On the morning of August 14, Lochte thought he was omnipotent, because that is what he had been led to believe ad nauseam.  When it came time to tell the story, Lochte embellished it and delivered something more sexy and intersting that the real event.  He delivered the goods, exactly as he was trained to do.  Ryan Lochte, who on August 13 was the all-American golden boy, became the lying, embarrassing, thug who abandoned his comapnions to take the blame for his actions.  What are we talking about here?  Four young men, very drunk after a night of celebration, made some bad decisions.  The media jumped at this opportunity; they printed every leak, every bit of innuendo, and every attempt to try and convict not only Lochte, but his three comapnions as well.  The press, media and entertainment industry continue to find ways to reach new lows.

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