Ryan Lochte hit with swimming ban, loses $100,000 in bonuses
Ryan Lochte is banned from swimming through next June and will forfeit $100,000 in bonus money that went with his gold medal at the Olympics, part of the penalty for his drunken encounter at a gas station in Brazil during last month’s games.
The U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Swimming announced the penalties Thursday. Lochte agreed to a ban that will also render him ineligible for world championships next July because he won’t be able to qualify for them at nationals the previous month.
He’ll get no monthly funding from either organization, can’t access USOC training centers, must perform 20 hours of community service and will miss Team USA’s post-Olympics trip to the White House.
Agreeing to four-month suspensions were Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen, who were with Lochte at the gas station. Those sanctions, which end Dec. 31, also strip funding and training access and preclude them from the White House visit.
Bentz, 20, will also serve 10 hours of community service for violating a curfew rule for athletes under 21.
Swimming’s international federation, FINA, called the sanctions “proportionate, adequate and sufficient,” and said it had no plans to augment them.
Despite his embarrassment, Lochte has maintained a high profile, posting regularly on social media and accepting a spot on the upcoming season of “Dancing With The Stars.”
Last month, Brazilian police charged Lochte with filing a false robbery report, but Lochte has not said whether he’ll return to Brazil to defend himself.
Lochte’s gold in the 4×200 freestyle relay was one of 121 overall medals the United States won at the Olympics, yet his actions at the gas station overshadowed a large portion of the second half of the Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee’s ethics commission is also looking into the incident.
“When Code of Conduct infractions occur, it’s our responsibility to take action that reflects the seriousness of what happened,” USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus said. “Unfortunately, this story line took attention away from the athletes who deserved it the most.”