Ryan Lochte's new 'light blue' hair
Sorry, Ryan Lochte, that is nowhere close to light blue.
Lochte, Charlotte's most famous current Olympian, has now become Charlotte's most famous gray-haired Olympian on the eve of these Olympics.
An 11-time Olympic medalist, Lochte turned 32 Wednesday. On that same day, he was part of a USA Swimming press conference and questions inevitably turned after awhile to his hair color.
"It's a little bold statement," Lochte said. "It's different and, I mean, that's me. That's my personality, just being different.... I just wanted to do something to shock people.... Something loud."
Lochte first posted photos of his new look on Instagram, where he used the hashtag #lightblue to describe the color.
Um, no. We know what light blue looks like in the Carolinas, Ryan, due in part to a certain school based in Chapel Hill. That is nowhere close to light blue. Lochte has turned his hair whitish gray instead – and I should know, because I've been on the gray side of the fence for years.
I just wanted to do something to shock people.
Ryan Lochte, on his new hair color
For Lochte, the closest parallel is probably to "Mad Men" actor John Slattery. By Wednesday, he was more or less giving up the ghost on calling his hair "light blue" anymore.
"I get a lot of questions saying that you're hiding your gray hair now that I'm 32, which is true," Lochte said. "But I went full gray – grayish blue."
In his fourth Olympics, Lochte will compete in two events in Rio as he tries to add to his medal total. He told me Wednesday in Rio that he felt "110 percent ready" for these Olympics after a groin injury in the U.S. Olympic Trials threatened to keep him off the team entirely.
Lochte will compete in the 4x200 freestyle relay and the 200 individual medley in these Olympics as he tries to raise his total Olympic medal count to 13.
Lochte has not committed to swimming past these Olympics, but my guess is that he will. Incidentally, Lochte also believes that Michael Phelps' latest "retirement" after these Olympics also won't stick. For what it's worth, Lochte predicted the same thing in 2012 when Phelps was supposedly retiring after the Summer Games in London, and on that note he was proved correct.
In any case, Lochte’s hair will be covered by a swim cap when he actually competes. His first event is Tuesday.