Ryan Lochte: From Olympic Champion to Olympic Disgrace
September 18, 2016
He dyed his hair a platinum blonde with pale blue highlights for the Olympic Games. We all tuned in to watch Lochte, and we were just as excited about Rio as he was for one reason: to compete with Michael Phelps. The 12-time Olympic medalist had done it before in the 2012 London Olympic Games, when Lochte beat Phelps in the 400-meter individual medley. Swimmers around the world were anxious to see if Lochte would beat Phelps in the 200-meter individual medley this time around.
He didn’t even win a medal. But he did win gold in the 4×200 meter freestyle relay. He even said he would see Phelps, who has now retired, in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
But he may not be allowed to go. News leaked that Lochte and his buddies were robbed at gunpoint. His original story seemed improbable and painted Lochte as a hero – he refused to get down on the ground while the rest of his friends did, but the robbers only took his money and wallet. Somehow, the robbers left him with his credentials and phone.
The video above shows footage of the incident.
And then Lochte got on a plane back to America. But his friends were held behind by Brazilian officials who were investigating the event. In the end, it turns out the entire story was a lie. Contrary to Lochte’s story, security footage shows Lochte and his friends busting open the door to a gas station bathroom, presumably drunk, urinating in plants, breaking a sign and then attempting to leave. When some security guards pulled a gun on the swimmers, one of them got out in an attempt to try to pay off the damage. Sydney Corey, ‘17, echoes the sentiments expressed by many: “I think he [Lochte] is arrogant and it’s so rude and disrespectful to vandalize– especially in another country that’s hosting you.”
The incident has forced one of the swimmers, Jimmy Feigen, to donate $11,000 to charity. Other Olympic athletes have been booed while competing as a result of the incident. In a country already chastised for its high crime rates from U.S. news channels such as CNN, the Lochte scandal has fabricated a story about crime when a crime was never committed.
The International Olympic Committee has set up a disciplinary commission to investigate the actions of the American swimmers. This commission will determine if the swimmers will face punishment. Lochte faces a 10-month suspension from USA Swimming, and he could lose up to $100,000, according to ABC. Alexa Fannon, ‘18, said, “I think that one mistake is gonna ruin his public image forever.”
Team USA has taken a blow for this incident, and America’s public image has also been altered due to the irresponsibility of these four young men, led by Lochte. Ryan Lochte, once the only one capable of taking down the world’s greatest swimmer, will now go down in history books as the man who lied to authorities and vandalized a gas station.