The answer to “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?” after starring in a TV series appears to be promoting frozen yogurt flavors for charity.
The 11-time Olympic medalist is partnering with Yogurtology to raise money for charities he’s been supporting during the past few years, including the Mac Crutchfield Foundation and Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy.
Lochte is promoting two new flavors — Lochte Lemon Drop and Champion Chocolate Fudge Brownie — that will launch Saturday and will be available in store, 3730 SW Archer Road, for a six-month period.
From the proceeds of the flavors, Yogurtology has pledged to give at least $10,000 to each of Lochte’s charities.
Jenn Greacen, a Yogurtology spokeswoman, said the partnership between Lochte and Yogurtology will both pique customers’ interest and cater to the needs of the charities.
“We think it will approach a new audience who want to give themselves a treat or take their kids out for a sweet treat, knowing that it’s going back to support something,” she said.
Will Nolan, a spokesman for Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy — one of the charities that will receive funds from the partnership — said the awareness Lochte’s name recognition will provide is important.
“If they see signage that Yogurtology puts out that’s supporting PPMD and then take a second to look it up, hopefully that’s something that’s going to help educate someone who otherwise might not have known,” he said.
Nolan said having a public figure on board with the nonprofit’s goals can positively impact public opinion.
“If it makes them that much more tolerant, that’s a huge thing for us,” he said.
Some UF students said that although Lochte’s effort to raise money for the charities is admirable, the positive boost it will give his public image could be an additional motive for the partnership.
Sarah Meyer, a 20-year-old UF biochemistry junior, said she hopes Lochte’s motivations are unselfish.
“I do think and hope Ryan Lochte has genuine intention in helping the charities, although I do think this partnership with Yogurtology will simultaneously bring him more positive publicity,” she said. “I definitely would try the flavors to help the cause because despite the questionable motives, the money is still going towards a good cause.”
Melissa Blaue, a 20-year-old UF health education and behavior junior, said she agreed with Meyer.
Blaue said although the campaign will generate more personal publicity for Lochte, the charities will still benefit regardless.
“Overall, I think Ryan Lochte partnering with Yogurtology is a charitable effort and will bring in a lot of support and proceeds to his foundation,” she said.
A version of this story ran on page 1 on 9/25/2013 under the headline "Ryan Lochte to put the freeze on Gainesville yogurt for charity"