That's it, that's my ultimate reaction to Peacock's "In Deep with Ryan Lochte", an hour-long documentary from this summer that posits Lochte as a matured, family-man looking for redemption through another Olympic swimming appearance at Tokyo 2020.
Honestly, unless you're a bonafide fan of Lochte's, skip the documentary and just read Inkoo Kang's spot-on review for The Hollywood Reporter instead. It'll save you the aggravation of revisiting him and his antics.
But I did watch it. And, I got aggravated again. Lochte has again become a source of Olympic chagrin for me as a fan.
At age 20, Ryan Lochte debuted at Athens 2004 and immediately became a favorite for NBC coverage - young, good-looking, fun-loving, he was a perfect counter to Michael Phelps. If Phelps was serious and maybe awkward, Lochte was the all-American fun guy. His success over the next three Games - six gold medals and 11 overall - kept fuel on the spotlight.
Along the way, what also was fueled was a reputation that fell somewhere between charming goofball and entitled jerk. (In "In Deep", his father refers to him as a "rascal". How cute.) A "What Would Ryan Lochte Do?" reality show devoted to following his party lifetsyle, and his attempt to make a "jeah" catchphrase happen cemented his image.
I was never a fan. Of course, I appreciated his talent in the pool. Aside from his Olympic medals, Lochte also has 39 world championship medals. But the celebrity, and what seemed to be a welcomed embrace of it, was a certain turn-off. I tend to save my Olympic athlete fandom for those appearing more humble, hard luck, or appearing sincerely nice. Granted, much of his reported personality came from the media craving and crafting a colorful story, but he certainly leveraged it.
Then, "Lochtegate": at Rio 2016, immediately after the swimming competition completed, there was the incident. After a late night partying session with some teammates that lasted into the early a.m. of the next day, he became Games topic number one. The drunken crew stopped at a gas station to relieve themselves - eventually doing so around the back outside, and in the process causing some damage to property. Gas station employees and on-site security staff came around, and a tense exchange followed, with a drunk Lochte refusing to sit still and security brandishing a gun to make him so. Eventually, the crew pays an on-the-spot fine, if you will, to cover damages, and are on their way. It all could have stayed unknown as an embarrassing I-can't-believe-we-just-went through-that drunken adventure, were it not for Lochte getting on the phone to his mother. (Note: don't let you mom be your p.r. person, Ryan) She spills a side of the story to a reporter and all of a sudden, there's a tale of poor Olympic champion Lochte and friends being robbed at gunpoint. With these Games having started under a cloud of security and safety concerns already, this story went out with a bang.
My partner and I were at Rio then, and were scheduled to head to the airport the next evening. Immediately, we were terrified at the prospect of being in a cab at 4 a.m. in Rio, just like Lochte and friends were. Is this what happens there in the middle of the night?? I think the thought went through countless other Olympic guests.
Well, as it turned out, no, there wasn't a forced stop of their taxi, nor a "robbery". What there was, was a group of drunk young men caught peeing on private property and causing damage, and being called to task by the security guard. So, no...this wasn't about Rio's unsafe streets, this was about Olympians acting un-Olympian...and a malicious cover story at the expense of the Brazilian hosts. Entitled, ugly American-ism, or whatever you want to call it, it was a bad look. And, to top it off, Lochte - a senior member of USA Swimming and for sure in position to be the leader of that night's group - hopped on a plane out of town before questioning, leaving his junior teammates to answer for the lie he pushed. What a wasted opportunity to be a mentor.
Side observation: an odd choice to showcase as a defender for Lochte in "In Deep" is Billy Bush, who chalks Lochte and gang's antics as essentially a "boys will be boys" issue. Yes, that Billy Bush. NBC really should have thought twice about keeping that specific segment of commentary in, as Bush isn't the most credible voice of reason when judging male "fun".
Now, with Tokyo 2020 looming and Lochte looking to make another Olympic team, though as a longshot at 36, NBC is readying a redemption story with "In Deep". Lochte has a family now with a wife and two children, and is a self-professed changed man from his younger days of partying. He's seen training diligently and playing lovingly with his son.
Well, okay. Good for him. But I'm over him, and over seeing him at the Games. "In the Deep" certainly didn't assuage any of my reservations about him. Contrary to teammate Conor Dwyer's prediction, this debacle will still not "roll over soon". The fact that "In the Deep" even exists is proof. What's more, in the documentary, he still claims some confusion, as he suggests the damage payment might be seen as a bribe. It's a decidedly American-centric hubris that fails to see the flip side if the situation was reverse. What if a group of drunk Brazilian young men damaged a late-night gas station in Los Angeles, and an L.A. security officer confronted them? Surely, the station owner could demand a fine in lieu of calling the police?
So, nope. It's time to move on from Lochte storylines at the Olympics. I'm ready for some fresh takes. I have to think the suits at USA Swimming are ready too. And his teammates...won't they be tired of seeing Lochte still get press on this, after this?
Perhaps the delay of the Games further challenges his comeback. We'll see. We should wish him well as he continues to mature. I just don't need or want to hear about it.
p.s. we did take a cab at 4 a.m. the next night, and made it with no problem to the airport. Rio was great!