Olympics

Ryan Lochte ends crazy year with big news: ‘We’re pregnant!’

jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Ryan Lochte appears to be closing out a rollercoaster of a year on a high note: The six-time gold-medalist swimmer, who trained for the 2016 Rio Games in Charlotte, revealed on social media Wednesday afternoon that he and his fiancee are expecting their first child.

“My Christmas gift came early this year, can’t wait for next year! Best news I’ve ever received #CLOUD9 #excited #family #love #2017,” wrote Lochte, 32, in an Instagram post that accompanied a photo of him kissing Kayla Rae Reid’s tummy while he’s submerged underwater in a pool.

The 25-year-old former Playboy Playmate sports a stringy blue bikini in the shot, and although her head is unseen, she shows her face in a similar photo that she posted just minutes after Lochte’s.

“Just when you think you think you have it all figured out, life always surprises you with blessings when least expect it,” Reid gushed in her caption. “So excited to share this news with all of you! #weareprego #omg #2017.”

The couple announced their engagement on Oct. 9, also via Instagram. They began dating this past March.

Lochte began the year with Charlotte-based SwimMAC Carolina and great expectations for the Summer Games, where he hoped to add to a pile of medals which to that point included five golds, three silvers and three bronzes.

But Rio was a disappointment: Overshadowed by Michael Phelps, he won a gold medal as part of the 4x200-meter freestyle relay team, but failed to make the stand in any individual event for the first time in four tries.

On top of that, a night of hard drinking, some “immature behavior” and an “over-exaggeration” put Lochte at the center of the Summer Games’ biggest scandal. He wound up losing sponsorship deals with Speedo USA, Ralph Lauren, Airweave and Syneron Candela.

Redemption came quickly in the form of a spot on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” but the season premiere was marred by two men who stormed the stage in protest of Lochte’s participation on the reality show, and he wound up – as in Rio – failing to make the top three (he finished in seventh place out of 13 celebrities).

Lochte was last seen in Charlotte on Dec. 4, when he and Reid showed up in the front row of the “I Love the ’90s” concert at uptown’s Spectrum Center. The swimmer had become friends with headliner Vanilla Ice while the two were on “Dancing With the Stars.”

Reid was born in Virginia and raised in California. She was Playboy’s Playmate of the Month in July 2015.

According to the Daily Mail, Reid hinted in an interview that she met Lochte on a dating app.

“He was on Tinder. I might be on Tinder,” she reportedly told the British newspaper in August. “That’s all I’m going to say about it.”

Janes: 704-358-5897;

Twitter: @theodenjanes

Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte uses a unique underwater kick to launch off the walls after his flip turns. He kicks on his back before turning to his stomach and starting his freestyle stroke. Lochte, who lives and trains in Charlotte, is preparing f

 

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