Ryan Lochte has attracted attention for a long time - and not always for what he has done in the swimming pool.

The 32-year-old American swim star - in hot water after his "I was held up at gunpoint" Olympics saga in Rio was exposed overnight as an outrageous fabrication - is no stranger to controversy.

Here's eight interesting facts about Lochte.....

1/ Lochte is popular and enjoys notoriety. He won his first gold medal back in 2004 but his career hit new heights ahead of the 2012 London Olympics when the New York Times dubbed him as "an Olympic sex symbol". Although he has won 12 Olympic gold medals, it has often been said Lochte is more famous for his lifestyle and looks than his performance in the pool where he has lived in the shadow of Michael Phelps. Harsh but true.


2/ Ryan loves a party. If he had a medal for every time the paparazzi shot him leaving clubs in a bedraggled state, he would have more gold than Phelps. After the London Games, Prince Harry was photographed nude at a pool party with Lochte in Las Vegas. He's also been spotted as a guest at the Playboy mansion. He is unapologetic about his lifestyle. "If I go out all night and I go dancing and I'm drinking, I still have a job to do and I still have a goal to do."

3/ He is well known for "The Grill". At previous Games, when he has been on the podium to accept a medal, Lochte has worn a set of custom jewellery over his teeth, known as a grill. The traditional medal-biting photo op shows the eccentric habit. The set he wore in London featured an American flag and cost $US25,000. The move attracted controversy with critics saying Lochte was popularising a style pioneered by black rap and hip hop stars. The swimmer called wearing a grill his "trademark".

4/ Lochte tried and failed after the London Olympics to try and star in his own reality TV show. 'What Would Ryan Lochte Do?' promised an "inside peek" at Lochte's club hopping, love life and lavish lifestyle.
Although the initial episode attracted 800,000 curious viewers, that figure had dropped by over half by the finale. The show did not survive past its first eight-episode season.

5/ The man is a self proclaimed "sex idiot". He's self-aware enough about his party boy reputation to take the mickey out of himself. At one stage, he agreed to a cameo on popular American comedy show 30 Rock, playing himself. The show portrayed him "as the shirtless consort of a much more successful woman, characterising him as her 'sex idiot', a special class of beautiful, but utterly brainless sexual partner.

6/ Even Donald Trump has weighed in on Lochte. Trump was pageant owner of the 2012 Miss Universe won by Olivia Culpo. Trump proudly boasted about the number of suitors the 20-year-old Culpo was turning away - that included Lochte.
"That swimmer is all over her like a puppy dog," Trump said. "She's rebuffed all kinds of celebrities."

7/ Lochte is forever changing his hair colour. His most popular look is the "silver fox" with his hair dyed grey - the style he took to Rio and which he calls his "Andersen Cooper look" after the CNN anchor. But he has also dyed his hair blue and green.

8/ Lochte started swimming at the age of 5. Soon after, his family moved to Florida so that his father could coach swimming, and Lochte began taking classes under his father and competing in Junior Olympics tournaments. His mother is Cuban and was born and raised in Havana while his father is of German, Dutch and English descent