Those of us who thought about last summer’s London Olympics more in terms of Blur and the Spice Girls than “individual medleys” and “world records” might dimly remember that time some guy tried to trademark the catchphrase “jeah.” Well, that guy’s name was Ryan Lochte, and apparently he won five overall medals as a swimmer at those very same Olympics. He’s also known for being extraordinarily inarticulate, which at one point earned him a 30 Rock walk-on role as what Tina Fey described as a “sex idiot.”
As Gawker points out, ESPN the Magazine obviously knows who Lochte is, and they’ve had him pose for a recreation of Nirvana’s iconic Nevermind cover. Unlike the baby, he’s wearing a Speedo, but his junk is weirdly invisible even as a polyester-wrapped protuberance. Is it as horrifying as Lil Wayne’s recent Nevermind Photoshop? You be the judge.
Get the real story of how the Nevermind boy was almost a girl here.
“Jeah” dude isn’t the only athlete recreating music-related images for ESPN the Magazine‘s new music-themed issue. Soccer player Alex Morgan has posed as Katy Perry from her One of the Boys album cover, while Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman reenacts Michael Jackson’s Thriller cover. Other artists getting the ESPN treatment include Beyoncé, Bob Dylan, Run-D.M.C., and Rick James.
ESPN has released a behind-the-scenes video in which a wide-eyed, giggling Lochte says things like “the cover is definitely worldwide” and “if you look at the baby, he’s definitely happy in the water, and that’s what I am … and he’s chasing after a dollar bill, so he’s always on the grind.” Also: “Usually, when I go swimming, I have goggles on. So when I didn’t have my goggles on for this shoot my eyes were definitely burning. [Blinks a lot.] Am I blinking a lot? ‘Cause I feel like it.”
In conclusion, Lochte says: “Hopefully everyone’s reaction when they see it, they’ll be like, dang, look at that guy. I honestly think I nailed the shot.”
Nailed it! Young Jeezy, the rapper who has famously been using a variant of “jeah” in his ad-libs for years, might even agree. Which, it occurs to us: Can we please get Jeezy, Lochte, and Dave Grohl together during Grohl’s TV guest-hosting gig this week and sort it all out?
For a more serious look back at Nirvana’s landmark album, don’t miss What Nevermind Means to Me.