Ryan Lochte competes in the 200-meter backstroke. (Francois Xavier Marit /…)
LONDON -- If Michael Phelps has positioned himself as the retiring elder statesman of U.S. swimming, on the receiving end of a tweet and a call from President Obama, Ryan Lochte might be edging toward the role of swimming's bad boy.
Lochte proclaimed these Olympics "my time" for months in advance, then won two gold medals in six events. He swam his last event on Thursday night and promptly embarked on a media blitz, including appearances on NBC, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, Eurosport, E! and Access Hollywood.
He also did a radio interview with Ryan Seacrest, in which he confessed that he urinated in the warm-up pool at the Olympics. TMZ picked up the story and blasted it across the Web within an hour.
Lochte's mother got into the act too, telling NBC her son was too busy for a committed relationship.
"He goes out on one-night stands," she said Thursday. "He’s not able to give fully to a relationship because he’s always on the go."
By Friday, Lochte and his mother each scrambled into damage-control mode. Both said the "one-night" referred not to hookups but to dates, in the interest of not leading a woman on to believe a committed relationship might be in the cards.
"How innocent is that?" Lochte's mother told USA Today. "All I wanted to say is that he's so sensitive about not wanting to hurt a girl dating, so he just goes and dates and takes out a girl for maybe one or two dates and doesn't have a relationship because he doesn't have [time] and it's not fair to the women."
Lochte blamed the media for twisting the comments of a mother not used to the spotlight.
"She didn't really understand that they were going to twist it and make it bad," Lochte said. "She definitely was like, 'Why would they do that?' She is so oblivious to everything."
Or not. In an ESPN interview published last month, Lochte estimated that "70 percent to 75 percent" of athletes in the Olympic village would engage in sex.
"My last Olympics, I had a girlfriend -- big mistake," Lochte said. "Now I'm single, so London should be really good. I'm excited."
In the interview with Seacrest, Lochte said he plans to move to Los Angeles after the Olympics. Here's guessing TMZ has not seen the last of him.
Meet the oldest athlete at the London Olympics
Michael Phelps counts down the final hours of his swimming career
U.S. women defeat New Zealand, 2-0, to reach semifinals in soccer