Ryan Lochte’s $25,000 grill that he wanted to wear up to the Olympic podium. (via rapfixMTV)

His style has already set him apart. Like his idol Lil Wayne, he has a hip-hop and skater-inflected look, with flashy jewelry and swaggy high-tops. He has worn diamond grillz over his teeth on the winner’s podium, and designed a pair of emerald rhinestone-encrusted sneakers with Speedo. “He wanted green, he wanted bling,” said Ms. Malone of Speedo, which sells a flip-flop version of the sneaker for $24.99. “He likes to make a statement when he walks onto that pool deck.” Even his swim briefs are neon. Mr. Lochte’s dream is to eventually become a clothing designer. “I want to be different, and fashion gives me that outlet to do that,” he said, lounging on a couch after a practice in loose basketball shorts, a T-shirt that read “Google Me” and black Dolce & Gabbana slippers. – From The Making of an Olympic Sex Symbol [New York Times, June 2012]

RYAN LOCHTE’s MOM created a firestorm this past week when she opined on her Olympiad son’s dating life on the “Today” show.

“He goes out on one-night stands,” she told TODAY.com. “He’s not able to give fully to a relationship because he’s always on the go.”

As someone who once made my living as a relationship consultant, considering Lochte’s age and world hunk status, this wasn’t exactly news. However, it’s quite a different thing when you have it blasted to the world during the Olympics by your mother. What makes it worse is that what exploded around it is an image killer, which is worrisome not only for Lochte, but for his brand, which is how Olympic athletes cash in.

The New York Times profile “The Making of an Olympic Sex Symbol” unpacked it and it wasn’t all pretty, as Lochte drenched readers in TMI honesty.

We’re not in the 20th century anymore, so getting up close and personal with athletes and other celebrities comes at a cost. If I had a nickle for every time someone told me I’d be better off appreciating Barbra Streisand from afar, I’d be as rich as the Romneys. But this isn’t anything new to me, because I once worked Broadway with Joel Grey when I was around Lochte’s age.

People can change, too, especially when the global girl sorority is bearing down on your over exposed ego and you’re made to look at what you’re showing the world. Forced to step back for the first time and assess the story you’re telling.

Who are you?

Jezebel’s the last place you want your character vivisected for the ladies, but that’s exactly what’s happened to Ryan Lochte, whom they leveled to mere mortal status while demolishing the Olympic pedestal beneath him.

These bright lime green limestone bedecked sneakers make it a lot easier. Okay, so the marketing says they’re “emerald.” What-evah.

Now it’s all hands on deck, with an Olympic sized effort being made to do PR damage control, with Lochte working his Speedo off trying to keep his gold medal image from turning to brass.

“They took it out of context. My mom is really new to all of this and the media,” the 27-year-old Olympian tells Us. “She meant since the last 4 years I just wanted to focus on swimming, and I didn’t really have time for a relationship.”

[…] “When I’m in a relationship, I want to give that person my entire heart and I wasn’t able to ever do that because of swimming. I’m always on the go. So what she meant is that I do go out on dates,” he explains Us. “But its not that thing that everyone is talking about, because that’s not me. I’ve never done that and never have been like that, so I don’t want people to think that about me.”

Ri-ight.

It’s an answer crafted to assuage “The Five” from Fox News crowd or the sex is naughty set, but it’s really hard to swallow. So instead of feeding the media a crap sandwich, Ryan Lochte could have just said he’s a bachelor and every woman he dates knows it up front and the rest is totally her choice. Because you know what, it is. Lochte’s not forcing any of the women he hooks up with or dragging them against their will into a situation. Here’s a news flash: Most young women really do get it, but sometimes we lie to ourselves and that’s not Lochte’s fault.

Lochte is correct about one thing, his mom “is really new to all of this and the media” and I’m certain she’s horrified about her comments going viral and world wide. I feel for her, but it’s one of those Michael Kinsey “gaffes,” when someone inadvertently speaks the truth and reveals something inconveniently factual that resonates with onlookers.

But so what if Lochte exclaims “I love ladies!” It’s as American as girls loving to look at sleek, half naked swimmers no matter our age, or a cougar who also salivates over magic Mike types, or just one of the thousands of red-blooded American women who couldn’t put down 50 Shades of Grey.

America can’t really still believe this is a one way sexual street, so let’s all stop pretending it is.

However, nobody loves a clueless man-child who’s stepping on the world at his feet, which is exactly the portrait being painted across the media, with a lot of help from Ryan Lochte, as news and photo organizations like Getty Images provide the art, while pictures like the one at the top accentuate the punk.

With Lil Wayne his idol, maybe the next thing we could see is Ryan Lochte designing skateboards. Somehow, it fits.

Ryan Lochte’s job is done at the 2012 London Olympics, and he is an amazing athletic competitor, but he’s leaving skid marks all the way back to the U.S.

Uh, With everything happening today
You don’t know whether you’re coming or going
But you think that you’re on your way
Life lined up on the mirror, don’t blow it (Whoo!)
Look at me when I’m talking to you
You lookin’ at me, but I’m lookin’ through you
I see the blood in your eyes
I see the love in disguise
I see the pain hidden in your pride
I see you’re not satisfied
And I don’t see nobody else
I see myself…

[Lil Wayne “Mirror” lyrics]