Lochte: Passion for swimming produces lots of pride, but little time for dating

Ryan Lochte shows off his grill
Ryan Lochte shows off his grill

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Ryan Lochte shows off his grill 01:19

Story highlights

  • U.S. swimmer has won 5 medals at the 2012 London Olympics, after winning four in 2008
  • He says winning races for his country is "one of the greatest things in the world"
  • It is difficult to have a long-term relationship given his training, he says
  • If he could go to a deserted isle with anyone, Lochte says he'd pick Blake Lively
Olympic star Ryan Lochte said Friday that he tries to maintain a sense of humor and perspective despite his intense focus on swimming -- one that leaves him little time for romantic relationships or much else besides training and competing.
In an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan, Lochte showed off one of his grills, which he said shows "part of my personality." Just one of the jewel-encrusted items that often adorn his teeth is reportedly worth $25,000.
"I am taking this seriously, but there's so much more to life than just swimming," he said. "That's what I want to have people know: You know what, I'm having fun doing this."
Still, free time for the 28-year-old -- who has been called one of the Olympics' most eligible bachelors -- has been severely limited over the past decade.
When asked "who gets more women," he or rival and fellow American swimmer Michael Phelps, Lochte said he does by a "60/40" margin. Still, the swimmer -- whose mother, Ike Lochte, created a media hubbub recently when she said her son only had time for "one-night stands," which he explained had to do with sporadic dates and not sexual flings -- said it is hard for him to cultivate a long-term relationship given his training regimen.
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Lochte's mom on his grill and girls
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"I am young, but that's not me," Lochte said of one-night stands.
"I like being in relationships. When I am in a relationship, I want to give (a woman) my entire heart," he added. "And lately I haven't been able to do that just because swimming has taken such a big role in my life."
If he could choose anyone to whisk away to a deserted island, the Rochester, New York, native didn't hesitate as to who he'd pick: "Gossip Girl" actress Blake Lively.
"She is gorgeous," he said of Lively, who is currently dating actor Ryan Reynolds. As to what he'd say to her if they met, Lochte jokingly said, "I would be like, 'Hi ... You want to go to an island with me?'"
Lochte entered the London Games as one of his nation's most highly touted athletes, having won two golds and two bronze medals four years earlier in Beijing and threatening to topple Phelps from his perch atop the swimming world this year.
Immediately, he made a splash by defeating Phelps and others for the 400-meter individual medley gold on the day after the opening ceremony.
His luster was tarnished slightly the next day when France's Yannick Angel chased him down on the final leg of the 4X200-meter freestyle relay to win that race. That silver was better, though, than his result Monday when he finished fourth in the 200-meter freestyle individual race.
Lochte rebounded with two medals on Thursday -- bronze in the 200-meter backstroke and a silver in the 200-meter individual medley, this time finishing right behind Phelps.
The next day, the swimmer acknowledged to CNN that he's had "ups and downs" during the London Games but overall, he's satisfied with his performance.
"I'm happy," he said. "I'm coming back to my country with five Olympic medals. And that's amazing right there."
Getting to this point hasn't been easy. Lochte pointed to his exhaustive focus on swimming over the past eight years, involving "a lot, a lot of early morning practices ... going into a freezing cold pool."
But he said that it's all been worth it to put on a swim cap adorned with an American flag, and especially when his national anthem is played after a gold medal performance
"It's everything -- chills, excitement, knowing that I'm not just swimming for myself, I'm swimming for my whole entire country. It's one of the greatest feelings in the world," Lochte said.
"There's nothing like it. It's something that you will cherish for the rest of your life."