Ryan Lochte is moving on and growing from his Summer Olympics scandal. In an exclusive new interview with Us Weekly, the 12-time medalist opens up about the incident in Rio de Janeiro last August that left him suspended from swimming for 10 months, without his millions of dollars worth of sponsors and more. Find out what he said in the video above, and detailed below.
“The suspension forces me to take a mental break,” the swimmer reveals in the new issue of Us. “I guarantee I’ll be a better swimmer. I will have drive and purpose.”
“I don’t think my suspension was fair,” Lochte adds. “Getting endorsements [for Speedo, Ralph Lauren, Airweave and Gentle Hair Removal, worth millions] pulled, I don’t think was right.”
As previously reported, the Olympic athlete, 32, has been suspended from all swimming competitions after embellishing claims that he and three teammates were robbed at gunpoint. Law enforcement in Rio reported that the Olympian had “fabricated” his tale and charged him with filing a false report after video surfaced showing the athletes vandalizing a gas station bathroom.
“The behavior of these athletes was not acceptable,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said in a statement to Us after instituting the punishment, which went into effect immediately, last month.
That said, Lochte, who is currently competing on season 23 of Dancing With the Stars alongside pro Cheryl Burke, notes he has learned from his mistakes and wants to redeem himself.
“I don’t want people to just remember me for this incident — I will change that,” he tells Us.
Pick up the latest issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now, to find out if Lochte’s teammate Michael Phelps came to his aid, whether he’s heading to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and all the details behind his recent engagement to model Kayla Rae Reid.