In this AT&T commercial, Ryan Lochte pretty much states the obvious. He might as well have said “Grass is green”, “2+2=4”, or “I swim good”. We learn next to nothing from this ad. However, what is learned is how bad our media coverage is. Most Olympic athletes arrived in London via some form of modern transportation whether it be plane, train, or automobile. However, Ryan Lochte swam there. Ryan Lochte arrived in London via his own manpower. He swam across the Atlantic Ocean – from the U.S. to London – and nobody heard a word about it until this commercial. You would think that news corporations would be clambering over each other to get the scoop on this Herculean feat, but nope. Not one word of Lochte’s accomplishment was mentioned in any newspaper, broadcast, or RSS feed, and we, the people, were deprived of the knowledge of an historic exploit.
This attainment puts Lochte in the company of legends. His trans-Atlantic swim makes him the Amelia Earhart of nautical travel. The only difference is he’s not a woman. And he didn’t use a machine. And we probably won’t find his freckle cream on a remote island in the Pacific 75 years after he disappears because Ryan Lochte doesn’t use freckle cream. Lochte doesn’t really have worrisome freckles. He just has one kinda big freckle near his mouth. And that doesn’t warrant freckle cream. You aren’t going to purchase expensive cosmetic product just for one relatively minor facial blemish. And now you’re Google image searching Ryan Lochte to see the freckle you didn’t notice before. And now you can’t stop looking at it, even though it’s not really that noticeable. But what is noticeable is how no one noticed Ryan Lochte swam an 18th century trade route to get to the 2012 London Games. NBC, the network tasked with covering the Olympics – including the Olympians participating in it – covered Ryan Lochte extensively, even sending John McEnroe to his house to look at his shoe collection (whatever that means), and they reported not one word of Ryan Lochte crossing the ocean blue in year two-hundred-one and two. Then again, maybe it’s just tape delayed.