Commentary by Shoshanna Rutemiller
LOS ANGELES, California, November 25. THE 10th annual "See What Team USA Looks Like Without Its Hair Wet" awards show took place last night at the JW Marriott in the heart of Los Angeles. Yes folks, I am talking about the Golden Goggles!
The JW Marriott is situated in L.A. live, just several pool lengths away from the historic Nokia Theatre. Because of its location, while peering out of the Golden Goggle venue's third-story window, we unintentionally spotted members of the superstar British boy band One Direction. Several hundred feet below us, Harry Styles and Zayn Malik were changing shirts outside their tour bus.
"Is it weird that we're technically spying on them?" said one media member as we peered down at the tour buses.
The whole weekend was a fan girl's dream. This year's Golden Goggles fell exactly in conjunction with the American Music Awards (AMAs)... which were being held directly across the street at the Nokia Theatre. Earlier in the day, Wayne Newton, the King of Las Vegas, was spotted having drinks at the JW Marriott's hotel bar before hitting Olympic Blvd with his entourage. In true Hollywood fashion, this year's Golden Goggle awards was hosted by Showtime channel's hit show Weeds star Kevin Nealon.
But, Hollywood or not, Team USA was the weekend's real star. Every year, Golden Goggles is used as an occasion to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of the hardest working athletes in the world.
The US National team ladies looked stunning (but had trouble hiding certain tan lines) in their best cocktail dresses. The gentlemen looked equally dapper in tailored three-piece suits.
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Although reality TV star and fashionista Ryan Lochte couldn't attend the event on doctor's orders, best friend Cullen Jones certainly did his best to channel Lochte in his fashion choices. Jones daringly paired a black tuxedo with highlighter-yellow high tops that clashed spectacularly with the red carpet.
Male Athlete of the Year nominee Matt Grevers sported a bushy MOvember mustache on the red carpet to show his support for November's Prostate Cancer Awareness tag. National teammates Connor Jaeger and Anthony Ervin followed suit.
Jessica Hardy, winner of the 2012 Perseverance Award, was the only woman to NOT wear a cocktail dress, instead opting for a fitted, sleeveless one-piece black jumpsuit with a large turquoise necklace for accent. She beamed besides husband Dominik Meichtry, who mirrored color choices.
Although seeing swimmers in formal attire is always a big deal, the awards ceremony after the red carpet certainly held its own. An unexpected -- but welcome - highlight was a series of Cirque du Soleil guest performances. The acrobats affixed a large water bath on to the stage and then dove in and out of the tub while performing contortionist acts. The performance made any pre- or post-workout stretching regime seem infinitely less daunting.
One of the best parts of the ceremony was an offhanded quip from National team coach Jon Urbanchek. While accepting the Male Athlete of the Year Award on Lochte's behalf, Urbanchek cheekily declared that the University of Florida football team seems to be unable to find a player that can tackle like a Lochte fan. FYI: Lochte (who competed for the Florida Gators collegiately) suffered a torn MCL and sprained ACL after an over-enthused fan tackled him on the street, slamming his knee into the pavement.
Ledecky's Female Athlete of the Year acceptance speech ended the night on the perfect note. Heartwarming is an understatement. The 16-year-old world record holder from Nation's Capital Swim Club, her voice trembling with emotion, sweetly accepted the award. Ledecky recognized that her accomplishments would be nowhere near as significant without the support of her teammates and coaches. And that is what the Golden Goggles is really about. Team.
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