Grounded. Ryan Lochte has been suspended from all swimming competitions for 10 months as punishment for his robbery scandal at the Rio Olympics, U.S. Olympic officials announced Thursday, September 8. The suspension and subsequent sanctions are effective immediately.
The 12-time medalist, 32, has been banned from both domestic and international swim team competitions through June 30, 2017, which means that he won’t be able to compete in the 2017 national championships. In turn, that means that Lochte will be ineligible for the 2017 FINA World Championships. (In addition, he’ll be expected to perform community service.)
“The behavior of these athletes was not acceptable,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said in a statement Thursday, referring to Lochte and his three other teammates, who were also involved in the alleged gas station altercation in August. “It unfairly maligned our hosts and diverted attention away from the historic achievements of Team USA.”
Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen each received a four-month suspension for their part in the scandal. As previously reported by Us Weekly, Lochte claimed that he and his three teammates were robbed and held at gunpoint after a night of partying on Sunday, August 14. Rio police later found video evidence revealing that the swimmers had actually vandalized the bathroom and that there was no robbery.
All four swimmers will also be left out of Team USA’s visit to the White House this fall, and they will not receive stipends from USA Swimming or the USOC during their suspensions.
“Each of the athletes has accepted responsibility for his actions and accepted the appropriate sanctions,” Blackmun continued. “We look forward to focusing our energy on the Paralympic Games and the incredible men and women representing our country in Rio.”
Lochte has already lost a significant number of large sponsorships as a result of his Rio scandal last month, including deals with Speedo, Ralph Lauren, Airweave and Gentle Hair Removal.
The new sanctions mean that the athlete also forfeits all USOC and USA Swimming funds that might have been brought about by the gold medal he won at this year’s Olympics. NPR reports that USOC pays a $25,000 bonus to gold medalists.
On August 19, Lochte issued a statement apologizing for his actions. “I want to apologize for my behavior last weekend, for not being more careful and candid in how I described the events of that early morning and for my role in taking the focus away from the many athletes fulfilling their dreams of participating in the Olympics,” he said at the time.
Lochte will compete on Season 23 of Dancing With the Stars alongside the likes of fellow Olympian Laurie Hernandez, Amber Rose, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Maureen McCormick and Vanilla Ice, among others.
Dancing With the Stars returns to ABC on Monday, September 12.
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