Ten Month Ban for Ryan Lochte Following Brazil Gas Station Incident
U.S. swimmer and twelve-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte has been suspended for 10 months as a result of the incident that occurred at a Brazil gas station during the 2016 Olympics. In addition, Lochte will be banned from the 2017 world championship meet in Budapest next July.
The ban arises out of an incident in which Lochte and several other American swimmers fabricated a story about being held at gunpoint and robbed while they were out by men they believed to be police officers. In fact, it was later revealed that the swimmers had vandalized the restroom at a gas station and security guards simply made them pay for the damage they caused before they could leave.
FINA, the international governing body for swimming, has said in a statement that it was satisfied with the sanctions and would not seek additional bans. In its statement, it asserted “now that the key facts have been established, FINA considers the sanctions applied as proportionate, adequate, and sufficient,” and that “[i]n light of these measures, FINA will not apply additional sanctions and will implement those now imposed on the swimmers at all FINA events.”
However, the punishments announced are largely symbolic, as Lochte was hardly a lock to qualify for the 2017 world championship and, while the swimmers are barred from United States Olympic Committee facilities, it is at a time when they would be unlikely to use them. In addition, Lochte loses his $3,500 a month USA Swimming stipend and will be required to perform 20 hours of community service. Brazilian prosecutors are still weighing whether or not to bring formal charges against Lochte for providing false testimony to the police regarding the incident.