Jul 25, 2012; London, United Kingdom; Ileana Lochte, mother of USA swimmer Ryan Lochte (not pictured), speaks during an interview in a Proctor and Gamble thank you mom campaign event at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
LONDON - Think how hard it must be to be Ryan Lochte's mother.
Your son is competing on the world's biggest stage. You can't really talk to him or see him while he's in London. He won a gold medal in his first event, but watched another swimmer pass him to snag gold on a relay. Then he didn't even end up on the podium in Tuesday night's 200-meter freestyle final.
"The frustration is I can't go to him (after a race) and I don't want to write to him because I don't want him thinking about it," Lochte's mother Ike said Tuesday afternoon at a Speedo event. "I just want him to let it go.
"I don't want to talk because I'm not the expert. His coach and he know how he was supposed to swim it, and I'll find out later."
High expectations - that skyrocketed up after Lochte won the 400-meter individual medley on the first night of the Games - have also been tough for Ike to handle. It doesn't help that she keeps a Google alert on Ryan's name, so every article or blog post that mentions her son gets directly sent to Ike's email inbox.
"It's hard because the fans expect - I don't know if it is the true fans or everybody else, the casual fans - him to do outstanding and just blow everybody away," she said. "They don't know the dynamics. They don't know what his races normally are and what his best times are. They have no clue.
"They just want gold medals."
Ike brought up examples of that 'casual fan' approach, like fans saying Lochte blew the U.S.'s chance at gold in the 4x100-meter relay. In reality, France' Yannick Agnel swam the fastest split of the entire event to make up the time and get gold. Even Michael Phelps wouldn't have held Agnel off with the time he posted.
There was more negative press after Lochte finished fourth in the 200-meter freestyle final. Ike doesn't think her son lets that stuff bug him.
"I think we (the family) take it to heart, and he just lets it go," she said.
The one benefit of the hype surrounding Lochte heading into London?
"I get to see my son on magazines I normally wouldn't," Ike said, smiling. "I'm thrilled."
Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY