American gold medalist Ryan Lochte—who scored a stunning upset over Michael Phelps on Saturday—has emerged as one of the London Games' breakout stars. The surest sign of his nascent celebrity? The 27-year-old swimmer is the subject of a "Call Me Maybe" parody video.
The NOC, a sports entertainment channel on YouTube, commemorated the beginning of all-out Lochte-mania with an amusing ditty called "Call Me Lochte," in which everyone's new favorite Olympic aquaman is dubbed the "King of the Pool." Rival Phelps, meanwhile, gets tossed aside as a Subway-shilling, bong-toting afterthought.
"Call Me Lochte" isn't the first Carly Rae Jebsen homage to come out of the 2012 Summer Olympics. The NOC's video comes on the heels of the U.S. swimming team's lip-synch tribute, featuring Lochte, Phelps and their pals staging dance numbers on an airplane, in a practice pool, in hotel rooms, in restaurants—pretty much everywhere.
Lochte's likeness is already making the rounds as an Internet meme. (You can even make your own). Meanwhile, #Lochte is trending on Twitter, where fans and admirers from across the nation are showering him with praise and adulation. One example: from @BlkGirl_Problms: "Ryan Lochte is the Channing Tatum of the Olympics." Gawker's Saturday headline says it all: "Sorry, Michael Phelps: Ryan Lochte Is America's New Slacker Sweetheart."
What do we really know about this swimming superstar? For starters, he is partial to a jewel-encrusted grill, which IOC officials forbade him from wearing on the medal stand. And Lochte reportedly dreams of becoming a fashion designer.
"I want to be different, and fashion gives me that outlet to do that," he told The New York Times in June. Hence the grill?
Ryan Lochte edged out Michael Phelps and won a gold medal in the 400 meter individual medley on Saturday. Lochte and Phelps teamed up for the men's 4x100 meter freestyle relay on Sunday, but took silver to the French, after Lochte was out-touched at the finish by .45 seconds.