Some of this year’s most prominent London Olympic athletes live by the Angre Agassi credo of “Image is everything”, even though Agassi admitted in his autobiography that he was a meth addict at the time. It seems that this generation of athlete wants the glory before they earn it. Everyone loves a winner, but you have to win first if you want that type of treatment, otherwise you are a joke. USA Women’s Soccer goalie Hope Solo and swimmer Ryan Lochte obviously didn’t get the memo.
Ryan Lochte beat Michael Phelps in the Olympic trials, so I guess he thought that meant something. He must not have realized that he still needed to beat him when it counts like Phelps did him. He was taking little digs at Phelps leading up to the Olympics, and he even won a gold medal in the first event that he and Phelps faced each other head to head. Then, on the first day of the Olympics with several events still to go, Lochte made it all about him by flashing his Paul Wall designed ice grill on the medal stand. He definitely stunted on ’em.
That move created all the buzz with the media, but Lochte followed it up by losing the lead on the final leg in the relay, and then not even medaling in his next event. There was a story on ESPN about how Lochte trained with the same exercises that they use for the World’s Strongest Man, but, after running out of gas in a 100m swim, I have to question whether that was just something else to boost his image because you need stamina and strength. But I think there is some substance to Lochte, I think he is probably frustrated being in the shadow of Michael Phelps for the last 12 years, but I can’t say the same for Hope Solo.
Hope Solo is strictly a media creation like those reality show stars. The media says she is the greatest American woman goalie of all time because they know no one follows soccer let alone women’s soccer. Anyone that follows the sport knows that Brianna Scurry is way more accomplished that her, but Brianna Scurry is African-American and didn’t seek attention. Solo has always tried to get attention. It started in 2007 when she called out her coach publicly for benching her in the World Cup, after they lost the game. She ended up being kicked off the team that year for those comments. Then in 2011, when she had her chance at redemption she gave up 2 game tying goals at the end of the game. The US ended up losing the World Cup to Japan 3-1 on penalty kicks, when again she didn’t step up and make a stop.
So to distract from that fact, she later comes out with an autobiography and reveals how drunk the team was while doing interviews after the 2008 Olympics, how much sex goes on in the Olympics, and her parents conceived her on a conjugal visit while her father was in jail. All money ain’t good money, and I wonder how her family and teammates feel about these revelations. In this Olympics, to keep her name in the news, she went on a Twitter rant against Brandi Chastain, a former soccer player turned commentator, saying the game has changed in the last 10 years and she doesn’t know the game. I thought it was still about scoring goals, and not letting the other team score, but since women’s soccer is only relevant every 3 years at most, we may all need to brush up on the game. Solo just needs to worry about performing, and getting some sort of redemption for losing the World Cup. But then again, who needs to win, image is everything, and hers is perfectly crafted.