Attainable or Unattainable III: Olympics Edition

Niki Nikovola/FilmMagic Ryan Lochte

I, Rembert Browne, have nothing to offer an Olympian with regard to the holding of hands, the making of love, the walking of aisles, or the having of children. Please do not waste time trying to convince me otherwise; I know it to be true and I am slowly coming to grips with that as fact. It’s OK, though, because for the sake of the Human Race, I firmly believe Olympians need to mate with other Olympians, if for no other reason than to create super-offspring that will protect our kind against the Unknown when they attack Earth in 36 years.

I bring this up because as the Olympics wrap up on Sunday, we have officially entered the panic zone in London for Olympians to spit game at other Olympians. It’s a tricky thing for these Olympians, because the place is crawling with similarly perfect freaks, all with the same thing on their mind. It’s like Senior Week in college, that time between classes ending and graduation day, when everyone’s in a mad dash to make those overdue proclamations of love to anyone within earshot. The key to a successful late-game run? Figuring out who is attainable and, thus, worth one’s time to expend precious time and effort on and who is unattainable and completely off the table.

Because I don’t trust myself to give advice to Olympians and make judgment calls on attainability by my lonesome, I’ve, again, enlisted the most important woman that I know living in Paris, Chelsea Fagan, to help sort out these important issues.

Kobe Bryant, Basketball (USA)


Rembert Browne: A quote from the man himself, via the best on-the-ground daily coverage of the Olympics, his Facebook page:

“What can I say, the mamba came out last night. I was able to find a rhythm from anger. I was frustrated by the first half and no calls. I allowed myself to get frustrated and I tried to turn it into something I could use as energy to fuel my performance. It worked out. On our way to watch our U.S women soccer team compete for the Gold! Congrats to the USA Women Basketball team for their semifinal win over Australia. It’s crazy how the Olympics are almost over. Time flies. It’s important to savor every moment and live. Be sure to tune in to the soccer match tonight vs Japan. Should be a great one! Mamba out.”

These are Kobe’s Olympics. It’s like he’s making up for the lost time of not caring about anyone for 15-plus years by spreading love wherever he goes in London. He’ll take pictures with anyone, hype up anyone else’s sport, and give credit even when credit isn’t due. He’s made himself the ambassador of love for these games, and while I’ve been swayed to think it stems from either a place of sincerity or a lack of friends, there’s no way to ignore the impact the “new Kobe” is having on the ladies. He’s the converted bad boy who’s finally seen the light, and if you’re a woman that is interested in this, I have to imagine Kobe Bean Bryant will not stop you. MOST ATTAINABLE OUT.

Chelsea Fagan: I think the most surprising thing about these entire Olympic Games is that Kobe Bryant is still playing basketball. I was under the impression that, after he cheated on his wife and bought her a small family sedan made out of diamonds to wear out on her finger, he had moved on largely to bragging about himself via social media and sleeping with cocktail waitresses, as per Association requirements for douchebag MVPs. Also, it seems kind of against the spirit of the Olympics to have someone with that many wins and years in the NBA under his belt to be playing against, say, a group of young upstarts from Nigeria. Can’t that man just retire already? He’s attainable, but does anyone really want to go down that road?

Verdict: Attainable, but you will likely have to be dragged through at least 10 apologetic press conferences to get the money you clearly are dating him for.

Ryan Lochte, Swimming (USA)


Fagan: The question of whether or not Lochte is attainable rests largely on him opening his mouth. When he is just standing poolside, glistening as if misted at 30-second intervals by a cabana boy with a Windex bottle full of baby oil, he is the stuff of high school jock dreams. He’s the Channing Tatum of the sports world. But the second he starts responding to the most Wiffle-ball soft of interview questions — even ones about one subject in which he should be well versed: swimming back and forth in a pool — he turns into the guy who smoked a bowl in his Ford Fiesta before homeroom. As society is now slowly becoming aware of his inability to string together a coherent sentence, I’m going to rule him attainable.

Browne: Here’s the thing, Fagan. Is it possible that he’s so clueless about everything in life that he might not even realize when he’s trying to be attained, thus rendering him unattainable? I feel like a clown car full of supermodels could approach him, flirting, while saying (in unison), “You’re Ryan Lochte, how cool is that for you?” and he would simply respond with, “I just get in that water and try my hardest for this team and this country.” This is rude and highly un-American, but I think Lochte might not be bright enough to be attainable. Feel free to address this, because I need convincing.

Fagan: You know, I think you actually may be right. It’s as though he’s some kind of mid-’80s computer that has a very specific set of commands it understands — hold the Gatorade up for the camera, swim really fast, listen to terrible rap music — and outside of that, there is just not enough code to carry out the commands. He’s like Ed in that part of Good Burger where Carmen Electra is trying to seduce him and he just wants to play mini-golf. Does that make sense to anyone but me?

Browne: For better or worse, I’m right there with you.

Verdict: Wave something shiny in his face and he’ll follow you. Anywhere.

Lolo Jones, Track and Field (USA)


Browne: Lolo Jones, for better or worse, is well documented, a well-documented attractive woman, and a well-documented attractive virgin woman. These do not sound like characteristics of an attainable woman, but I truly believe that she is. I think her entire package actually intimidates some of the other game-spitting Olympians. If this intimidation is widespread and no one is hollering, she’s going to start missing the days before she was on billboards and television and simply crave the time when dudes would catcall and every now and then she’d entertain them and let someone take her to dinner. So with regard to Lolo, I think everyone thinks she’s unattainable, which has, in turn, made her extremely attainable. Oh, if someone could just have that blissfully ignorant courage to throw their arm around her and treat her moderately normal …

Fagan: So Lolo is the Taylor Swift of the sports world, and I guess we can all just fall all over ourselves to see who gets to come pick her up on a white horse and take her promise-ring shopping. If you think everyone else is too intimidated to make a go for it, feel free to take your shot — but I have a feeling that anyone who doesn’t start their day by drinking a glass of raw eggs and running 20 miles uphill in blistering heat probably isn’t going to make the cut for her if she’s waited this long.

Browne:You’re right. The person that will sweep her off her feet can’t be any Olympic geek off the street, so she might be slightly more unattainable than I originally thought.

Verdict: Unattainable to most, unless YOUR NAME IS ANTHONY DAVIS *FINGERS CROSSED*

Michael Phelps, Swimming (USA)


Fagan: While he is by no means repeating his record-breaking showing from the 2008 Games, and is 27 now, which (to my understanding) is roughly 130 in Olympian years, Phelps remains a class act and #AmericanHero. Sure, he hits the bong every now and again, and yeah, he’s got that tap-dancing-the-border-between-cute-and-derpy smile, but he is still pretty untouchable. No one, not even the Phelps of today, could match the level of unattainable he had in the summer of ’08, when he was busy picking up gold coins à la Mario and thanking Lil’ Wayne for providing him with such an inspirational soundtrack, but he doesn’t need to have perpetual demigod status to remain light-years out of our league.

Browne: Going into the 30th Olympiad, all the attention was on pretty boy Lochte. He was on all the magazine covers, talk of a “new sheriff in town” with regard to the pool was alive and well, and it looked like Phelps was becoming an afterthought. And then four days into the Olympics, we watched Lochte underperform and listened to him regurgitate words at a sixth-grade reading level while Phelps was calmly becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time. The attention might not solely be on him like it was in 2008, but he’s still the only dude that matters when it comes to swimming. He made the Ryan Lochte era last about 72 hours, and for that I’d say he’s even more unattainable than he was four years ago. Glad to see there’s no argument on this. He’s untouchable.

Verdict: Don’t even try — you would look sad.

Serena Williams, Tennis (USA)


Browne: Serena is a bag of unattainability because there’s just no way to figure out which Serena you’re ever dealing with. I get the feeling, because she’s such a giant pile of mood swings, that you don’t pick Serena; Serena picks you. Sometimes she wakes up and is like, “I hate tennis, I want to date Drake,” and other times she wakes up, has a bagel, and is like, “I think I’ll win a gold medal this week.” Her unattainability doesn’t stem from her being too cool or too attractive or too successful, it’s merely from her being too mentally unpredictable. What say you, Chelsea? Is Serena worth the investment for an Olympian that has been crushing on her since she had the beads in her hair?

Fagan: Serena Williams is, aside from being made of nothing but sinewy yet beautiful muscles and pure success, definitely not interested in any of us losers. When she’s not getting talked about in rap songs for how beautiful her backside is (et tu, Kanye, et tu?), she’s winning championships and sending all of the little wilting flowers and Anna Kournikovas of the world crying back to their be-polo shirted coaches over at the Yacht Club. She is way too busy getting shit done to bother with any of us, let her count her medals and choose her worthy prince on her own time.

Verdict: If you’re an Olympian with a record deal, maybe. Otherwise, UNATTAINABLE.

Tom Daley, Diving (Great Britain)


Fagan: I don’t know if you heard, but Tumblr, over the last few weeks, has essentially turned into the Tom Daley Appreciation Forum. There is no picture/GIF/video too mundane to turn into adult fan fiction, or to Photoshop a penis into. Everyone is currently lusting over him, because he’s adorable and just turned 18 (so it’s OK, Chris Hansen) and he has a delightful accent that makes him sound like if Mary Poppins were a character on Skins who couldn’t keep his clothes on. One brief Google search of Daley’s current relationship status will show nothing short of a holy war being fought over whether he has a girlfriend or, in fact, doesn’t like girls at all. As long as half of the Internet would rip your esophagus out should you be seen with him, I’m going to pronounce him unattainable.

Browne: This may be rude, but my immediate thought is “attainable” simply because he’s not American, but then I looked at some pictures of the guy:

He’s in One Direction, right? Even if someone proved to me that he wasn’t, I thought he was, which makes “unattainable” still an understatement. He’s like Bieber with abs and a spray tan. Sorry, but no chance, everyone.

Verdict: Unattainable. Also, sixth member of One Direction.

Hope Solo, Soccer (USA)


Browne: A Solo quote from ESPN The Magazine, about their post-2008 Olympic gold celebration:

“When we were done partying, we got out of our nice dresses, got back into our stadium coats and, at 7 a.m., with no sleep, went on the Today show drunk”

Attainable. Your turn, Fagan.

Fagan: Matt Lauer, if you didn’t hit that, I have lost all respect for you.

Verdict: Shockingly attainable.

Teddy Riner, Judo (France)


Fagan: It has recently come to my attention that, while over here in France people are in nothing short of a “Teddy Bear Fever,” much of America remains blissfully unaware of Riner as he completely dominates the sport of judo. He is essentially an action hero who walked out of some movie featuring Jason Statham and an exploding Mini Cooper and onto a mat in which he stands at around twice the height of his terrified opponents. If you read the more hilarious records of some of his fights, many surrender before any real physical punishment can be instilled, as when you see a man who is 7-ish feet tall and 300-ish pounds coming at you, you resign before you can soil your nice new robes. Perhaps in America the man would be attainable for sheer lack of recognition (unless, that is, a Kardashian sister gets ahold of him), but in Europe he is wholly untouchable.

Browne: Again, my knowledge of Teddy Riner wasn’t as strong as it should have been, because all I do is sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” and raise baby bald eagles, but after a 10-minute kuzushiinto his life, it is clear he is on the verge of worldwide unattainability. I think he needs one more Olympics (or a movie producer to realize that he could easily be a star) for his star to truly rise to that level, because over here, in the States, he’s yet to become a household name. I firmly believe he’s one of the most sought-after men in the Olympic Village and, seeing that he’s just beginning to realize this, the last stretch of the Olympics should be fun for anyone that isn’t terrified to approach his 6-foot-8 frame. These are the final days of attainability for Teddy Riner.

Is this just going to be one of those things we agree to disagree on because you left America and I haven’t the first clue how to apply for a passport?

Fagan: It’s time for you to get cultured, Browne. Come over to Europe. We’ll drink some blood of the vanquished with Riner, hang out with soccer players who leave their dress shirts unbuttoned down to their navels, and learn how to say “Teddy will always be out of our league” in French.

Verdict: En route to worldwide domination. Watch your back, Idris.

Chelsea Fagan is writer/editor at Thought Catalog, living in Paris. She enjoys arguing with Rembert Browne and then putting those thoughts on the Internet.

Filed Under: Kobe Bryant, Olympic Games, Olympics, Ryan Lochte, Serena Williams

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert