Kobe Bryant and Stephanie Rice enjoy each other's company at the velodrome before the women's sprint gold medal race between Anna Meares and Victoria Pendleton at the London Olympics. Photo: Screengrab: Channel 9
Isn't it amazing who you can run into at the Olympics?
With their partying mostly over, the Australian swimmers have been heading to various venues to cheer on their teammates, and a handful decided to do the big double on Tuesday, first venturing to the velodrome to cheer home Anna Meares to an incredible upset victory over Victoria Pendleton, then off to the track to give their support to Sally Pearson.
But, while at the bike track, Stephanie Rice caught up with an old friend, a reunion which stunned television viewers both in London and back home in Australia and had the Twittersphere abuzz with questions, rumours, and suggestions when she was caught sitting alongside US basketball superstar Kobe Bryant.
The pair reportedly first met back in 2008 at a party during the Beijing Games, and then it was only two weeks ago in Manchester they again caught up when Bryant's Dream Team were in town for an Olympic warm-up against Great Britain, and Rice and the Australian swimming team were in the city for a pre-Games training camp.
Rice and some team members attended the Dream Team game in Manchester, and then the following morning Bryant arrived at one of the team's training sessions, met up with some swimmers, and then singled out Rice.
He told her she was a favourite of his daughter, and asked if she would sign a swim cap for him to give his daughter. Rice naturally obliged and in return she got a pair of Bryant's shoes.
"It was a pretty good trade, but I don't know whether they will fit into my suitcase," she said.
While social media went into a frenzy, we wouldn't be rushing out to find that bookmaker who bet on who Rice's new boyfriend would be, trying to get big odds about it being Bryant. While they are estranged, and his wife Vanessa did file for divorce last year, there has been speculation they were giving it another shot, and the couple were seen enjoying themselves with their daughters at the final night of the swimming program last Saturday. Sadly for his daughter, Rice didn't swim that night.
We can only hope Rice kicked Bryant in the shin or twisted his shooting hand, anything to slow the superstar down against the Boomers on Wednesday.