Swimmer Ryan Lochte was sanctioned by USA Swimming and the United States Olympic Committee after lying about being robbed during Rio Olympics 2016. Lochte was suspended for ten months, and those who were with him, Bentz, Conger, and Feigen, were suspended for four months. Lochte and Bentz have to complete several hours of community service, and all swimmers lost the right to go to some events, including domestic and international competitions.
Lochte, 32, was given 10-month suspension from competencies in the U.S. and abroad, meaning he will not participate in the 2017 world championships in Budapest. His next international meeting would be the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo, and his next world championship would come in 2019 in South Korea.
Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and Jimmy Feigen are considered Lochte accomplices because they kept the truth about what really happened that night for more than 72 hours, for which they were also punished. They are suspended for four months, but in contrast with Lochte, they will not miss any significant domestic or international competitions.
But the suspension for the athletes is not all. Among the penalties, Lochte was left without the $25 thousand bonus the US Olympic Committee awards to Olympic gold medalists. Despite his poor individual performance, the Olympic Champion was part of the 4×200 relay that won gold in Rio and had the right to those $25 thousand. A right he lost for lying publicly about a crime.
Lochte could also lose a USA Swimming gold-medal bonus that has been previously awarded in other Olympics.
Additionally, Ryan will not be eligible for his monthly USA Swimming stipend of $3,250 during the suspension. Bentz, Feigen, and Conger have the same sanction. Regarding community service, Lochte has to complete 20 hours of community service and Bentz has to do 10 hours.
Bentz, 20, will be required to do 10 hours of community service because he ignored the curfew that was established for swimmers under the age of 21 at the Olympic Village. He went out the complex to party with Lochte, Conger, and Feigen and ended up vandalizing a Brazilian gas station and backing Lochte false story of what happened that night.
Punishments continue and Lochte, Bentz, Conger and Feigen will not visit the White House later this month. The U.S. Olympic delegation has an invitation to meet President Obama, but the four swimmers are excluded due to their behavior in Rio de Janeiro. They were also denied access to U.S. Olympic training centers during their suspensions and are not invited to USA Swimming’s year-end Golden Goggles celebration in New York in November. Penalties will not affect Conger nor Bentz collegiate eligibility. They both swim at the University of Georgia.
Lying publicly, vandalizing, and eclipsing U.S. victories during the Olympics have serious consequences
The U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said in a statement the behavior of the athletes in Rio 2016 was not acceptable; it unfairly maligned the 2016 Olympic host and diverted attention away from the historic achievements of Team USA. He continued and said each of the athletes has accepted responsibility for his actions and accepted the sanctions. Blackmun concluded saying the Committee looks forward to focusing their energy on the Paralympic Games and those who represent the United States in Rio.
Jeff Ostrow, Lochte’s lawyer, made a statement to USA Today Sports regarding penalties and said they accepted the decision and believed it is in everyone’s best interest to move forward. About the swimmer, he said Ryan Lochte is grateful to be a member of the U.S. Olympic Team and USA Swimming and recognizes his lapse in judgment. But Ostrow believes the collective sanctions appear to be harsh when considering what happened that day in Rio.
According to Ostrow Lochte did not commit a crime, he did not put the public safety at risk, and he did not cheat in his sport. The lawyer said he and Ryan would leave others to evaluate if the penalties are appropriated for the case.
All swimmers did not agree with the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Swimming sanctions. In an interview that appeared Tuesday in the Austin American-Statesman, Jack Conger expressed his displeasure with the ultimate decision, insisting all he did wrong was urinate publicly at the gas station while he was drunk.
Still, he confessed he thought it was best for himself, his country, his friends, and his family to put an end to the scandal, whether he agreed with the consequences or not.
The crime was committed in Brazil, and they want the athletes to pay for what they did
Brazilian prosecutors are considering to file formal charges against Ryan Lochte for providing false testimony to the police, The New York Times reports. The athlete left Rio the night after the incident, but Bentz, Conger, and Feigen had to face Brazil’s laws.
The ABC News says Bentz and Conger were pulled off a U.S.-bound plane and questioned about the incident. And Feigen had to pay $11 thousand to avoid charges before his passport was returned and he could return to his home country.
All the bad publicity surrounding Lochte made him lose four endorsement deals: Speedo, Gentle Hair Removal, Airwave and Ralph Lauren. Still, the Olympic gold medalist signed with Pine Brothers throat drops and will appear on “Dancing With the Stars.” The show premiers on Monday night and will compensate what Lochte is losing for winning an Olympic gold medal.
Source: ABC News