marco polo ship Disgraced swimmer Ryan Lochte suspended for Rio actions
(CNN) US swimmer Ryan Lochte has been suspended from his sport for 10 months as a result of his involvement in a Rio de Janeiro gas station incident during the Olympics.
The 12 time Olympic medalist will not be allowed to compete in the 2017 National Championships, rendering him ineligible for the 2017 FINA World Championships in Hungary, said the US Olympic Committee (USOC) and USA Swimming in a statement Thursday.
The gas station episode, and Lochte description of it later to newscasters, created an international hubbub and an embarrassment for Olympic officials.
Lochte, 32, initially said he and three other swimmers were the victims of a dramatic robbery when returning by taxi from a late night party. He later backtracked after a police investigation found the swimmers were stopped by security guards at a gas station after committing an act of vandalism and paid approximately $50 in damages.
Bentz, Conger and Feigen have since publicly shared their version of the events with stories that differ from Lochte original tale and essentially match surveillance video released by Brazilian police.
Lochte has apologized for poor behavior at the Rio gas station on the morning of August 14. The group had stopped there to use the bathroom and, finding the door locked, urinated behind the building, during which time Lochte reputedly tore down a framed poster from the building wall. When his court hearing comes up, Lochte can opt to send a lawyer on his behalf and does not need to appear in court in Rio.
The police investigation began after Lochte had returned to the United States. The three other swimmers were blocked from leaving Brazil and one, Feigen, faced a Brazilian judge for his statements to police regarding the gas station incident.
He agreed to pay $10,800 to a charity to settle the case.
Lochte has since taken responsibility publicly, saying the international Olympic scandal was his fault and caused by his behavior. over exaggerated that story and if I had never done that we wouldn be in this mess, he told NBC Matt Lauer.
Lauer asked Lochte about using the word in a prior interview, when police have said the swimmers were vandals.
how you want to make it look like, Lochte responded. you call it a robbery or whether you call it extortion or us paying just for the damages. We don know. All we know is there was a gun pointed in our direction and we were demanded to give money. woes
With Lochte ruled out of the 2017 world championships in Hungary, his next opportunity for a long course world championship meet would be in 2019. He would turn 35 in August of that year.
Long course is the term for a 50 meter pool, the length used in the Olympics. Lochte also has previously competed in short course world championships, in 25 meter pools; the next one beyond his reported suspension is in 2018.
The swimmer sponsorship deals have taken a hit since the incident, with Speedo, Polo Ralph Lauren, Gentle Hair Removal and mattress maker Airweave all saying they would be cutting ties with Lochte.