The grill. The catchphrase (“Jeah!”). The model-worthy good looks. Reality TV was made for people like Ryan Lochte, and Lochte was made for reality TV. So it’s no surprise that after his Olympic gold medal, he’s fielding more than just offers from sponsors — according to E!, he has an agent. So, what are his options?
“Dancing With the Stars”: It’s like a retirement home for Olympians and former athletes. If Lochte joined “Dancing With the Stars,” he’d join fellow medalists like speed skater Apolo Ohno (season four winner), gymnast Shawn Johnson (season eight winner), and skater Kristi Yamaguchi (season six winner). The athleticism that the show requires gives Olympians a definite edge, and he already told US Magazine that he would love to compete.
Reality TV: If Lochte marries a celebrity and gets a show out of it, he could hang with Bruce Jenner, another former Olympian-turned-famous-spouse. Or, if he wants to prove how tough he is, he could do another competition-style show like “Stars Earn Stripes,” which features gold medalist skier Picabo Street.
Non-reality acting gigs: Lochte has been asked by Will Ferrell to star in a FunnyOrDie video (Update: It went live Thursday morning, and it’s about his pool bathroom habits) told E! that he thinks “acting would be fun.” Maybe Lochte could become the next Cathy Rigby, who transitioned a gig at the 1968 Summer Olympics into a permanent theatrical gig as Peter Pan.
Modeling: He’s already got experience here: Lochte posed for the cover of the June issue of Vogue with Hope Solo and Serena Williams. Unfortunately, it was the worst-selling Vogue cover of the year. But, with Gillette as his sponsor, a shaving ad is certainly in his future — maybe using his brand-new diamond-encrusted gold razors?
Fashion design: Lochte’s got a unique sense of style — that grill! — and fashion has always been in his career aspirations. In 2008, he told New York Magazine that he was attending fashion week so he could transition out of swimming and into becoming a designer. He’s designed swimsuits for Speedo, and is now fielding “multiple offers” for a line. His style is a mix of hip-hop, surfer and skater cultures, so expect something along those lines.
Music: Plenty of athletes have pursued a music career — and while most haven’t been taken seriously, some have found success. Oscar De La Hoya, who won boxing gold in Barcelona, released a self-titled Latin pop album in 2000 that was nominated for a Grammy. And if Lochte’s catchphrase — Jeah! — seems fit for a rap single, it’s because he adopted it from the rapper Young Jeezy.
Art: This one’s a long shot, since Jezebel described Lochte’s art, posted on Twitter, as looking “like stuff the pothead next to you in psych 101 drew when he was super bored.” But our modern-day Renaissance man does like to draw.
Commentary: Lochte could also go the Shawn Johnson route and appear as a TV commentator for sports events. It might not go so well for him, though: It seems as though his female fans prefer him to remain seen and not heard.