Ryan Lochte Grills Designed by Rapper Paul Wall for 2012 Olympics
After winning a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, besting his competition in the 400-meter individual medley, Lochte stood atop the podium wearing a shiny star-spangled grill. Lotche bought the bejeweled mouthpiece from Wall and business partner Johnny Dang, who run a custom grill operation, and as photos of Lochte's patriotic grin spread around the world, the Houston rhymer and tooth jeweler earned some invaluable publicity.
"For him to represent us and our culture, the grill culture, it's just shining a light on hip-hop in the Olympics," Wall told XXLMag.com. "Everyone's talking about it ... it's just an incredible thing to be part of. I'm just honored to be part of it. There's not too many world-class swimmers wearing our grill."
Lochte was apparently told that donning the dental bling would prevent him from collecting his medal, so he played it gangsta-style and popped it in after he'd been handed his medal.
The swimmer is a known grill enthusiast, and having purchased a standard model in the past, he commissioned the custom American flag design for the London Games. Valued at between $15,000 and $25,000, the grill contains VS diamonds and red rubies, each of which Wall says were set by hand.
"Of course we gave him the Olympic discount," Wall told XXL, adding that any U.S. athlete who wins gold from here on out gets a free gold grill.