#LochteGate, and Whether We Should Care

You probably read it in the newspapers, read it on your mobile device, or heard about it on mainstream media: USA Olympian swimmer Ryan Lochte’s “Pinocchio moment” about the incident at a Rio gas station.


A few days ago, we have learned–or been fibbed about–the fact that Ryan Lochte and other USA swimmers have been “robbed at gunpoint”, as quoted by Washington Post. When he was asked about this, he replied: “The guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and said ‘get down.’ I was like (puts hands up) I put my hands up. I was like ‘whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet.”

Internet users formulated the claim that Ryan Lochte had “no chill” regarding the “robbery”. (Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is how incredibly naive our generation is.) I knew at that very point that his make-believe story was bogus. It is not possible to respond with, “I was like, ‘whatever'” when you have a gun “cocked” at your forehead. Any proper response to a gun pointed at you would be sudden shivering, rapid heart beating, and fear. There is just no possible way to put this.

When it was discovered that Lochte did, in fact, lie, the notion that he did so became viral. Memes of him “running away from his responsibilities” were incredibly frequent on Twitter. News about him “lying through his teeth” were posted all over Facebook. Coverage on him and the other swimmers was as lengthy as three days and counting, especially on mainstream corporate sources such as CNN. Similar to that of Harambe’s shooting, the story spread like the Bubonic plague on social media.

The question then comes into our minds: should we care?

I read on Sports Illustrated and Forbes earlier this afternoon that not only did they lie about the “robbery at gunpoint”, but they also vandalized the gas station by urinating all over it. It is astonishing how such people, who we claim to be America’s heroes, are involved in vulgar behavior. It is astonishing how Ryan Lochte, who the public perceived to be–at least–the guy who pushed Michael Phelps to be at his best, would dig himself into a colossally deep hole.

In reality, nonetheless, this story, much like Harambe’s death, should have been covered for two days at most. Amazing how stories like a lion being shot by a dentist and a gorilla being shot because of a parent’s irresponsible supervision are being emphasized greatly, which prevents the people from being knowledgeable about more critical, more exclusive news. It is something we should be able to easily move on, since there are more important stories and headlines to cover. But, most importantly, I do not recall people actually looking back at other Olympic scandals, other than E! Online.

#LochteGate: should we care? The answer to that is: not really.