After beating Michael Phelps in the 400m individual medley on Saturday, swimming phenom Ryan Lochte was told by Olympic Games officials that he was not permitted to wear his custom-made red-white-and-blue mouth bling on the medal stand. If he insisted, he would not receive his fourth career gold medal, according to a report by ESPN’s Wayne Drehs.
“Lochte told me he tried to wear his grill on the podium only to have an Olympics official tell him if he did so he wouldn’t get his gold,” said Drehs.
Looks like the high-profile Olympic swimmer conceded and removed the grill for the awards ceremony, and then popped it back in afterwards. The photo above shows Lochte with and without the grill.
A closer look at the grill reveals a Stars-and-Stripes American flag design with staggered blue and white stones on one side representing the stars on a blue field, and rows of red and white stones on the other representing the flag’s red and white stripes. Presumably the gemstones are rubies, sapphires and diamonds.
According to USA Today, Lochte has had a long love affair with oral jewelry that goes back at least to the Beijing Games of 2008.
Lochte explained the look in a YouTube video posted in June: “For those who don’t know what a grill is, it’s basically a retainer filled with diamonds. … I wear it when I go on the podium. It’s just a unique way of showing my personality out to everyone.”
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