Ryan Lochte Reveals Painful Details of Rio Scandal, Plus His 2020 Olympic Return

It has been three years since Ryan Lochte found himself in a huge scandal concerning his behavior at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Before the scandal happened, Lochte was an extremely popular swimmer who had won several gold medals at various Olympic games. However, he quickly fell from grace soon afterward.

These days, Lochte is opening up to people about his experiences during and after the scandal. It’s clear that life has not been easy for him, and the 35-year-old even admitted that he has shed a lot of tears since the event.

What happened during Ryan Lochte’s Rio scandal

Ryan Lochte visits "Extra" at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Ryan Lochte | Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

In August 2016, news reports began surfacing of Lochte being robbed at gunpoint by a few men in Rio de Janeiro who were dressed as police officers. Allegedly, Lochte and three of his teammates — Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz, and Jack Conger — were on their way back to the Olympic village in the early morning hours when this happened.

Lochte claimed that the men forced them out of their taxi and held guns to their heads. An investigation was quickly launched, though upon digging further into the incident, very conflicting details emerged. It soon became clear that the Olympians had fabricated their story.

Rather, what seemed to have happened was that Lochte and his teammates had vandalized a gas station while intoxicated. The men allegedly broke a bathroom door, destroyed various items at the place, and urinated in inappropriate areas. Security guards had to keep them from leaving in order for the police to come deal with the situation.

Ryan Lochte’s career went downhill after the scandal

The scandal did a huge amount of damage to Lochte’s successful career. He lost various sponsorships and was suspended from competing for 10 months.

Lochte also issued an apology for the incident, saying: “I should have been much more responsible in how I handled myself and for that I am sorry to my teammates, my fans, my fellow competitors, my sponsors, and the hosts of this great event.”

Ryan Lochte recently teared up while discussing the scandal

Back in October, Lochte opened up about his life after the scandal to the Today show. He shared that the incident devastated him mentally.

“It got to points where I would wake up crying and I was like, ‘Man, I wish I could just disappear — go on a remote island and just not see anyone,” Lochte said. “I was a role model. Kids looked up to me … Reading some of the comments, it was, ‘I looked up to you and now I don’t.’ That hurts me. It hurt me inside, and I didn’t want to be that person.”

Lochte also recently appeared on Alex Rodriguez’s new series, Back in the Game, where Rodriguez tries to help fallen athletes get back on their feet again. In it, Lochte discussed more about the scandal with Rodriguez. He explained: “One mistake changed my entire life. I went from hero to zero.”

Additionally, Lochte teared up when talking about how he let many people down.

“I feel like I did let down a lot of people,” he said. “I am a role model and I want to be the best role model for people.”

Will Ryan Lochte compete in the 2020 Olympics?

Lochte has been trying to turn his life around little by little. He sought treatment for alcohol and is trying to become healthy again — he admitted to eating a lot of fast food in the past couple of years. He also is looking to compete in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

After coming back from a 14-month suspension in 2018 for getting B-12 IV drips, Lochte came in first place in the 200-meter individual medley at the U.S. national championships back in August. At this point, it seems that it is quite possible for Lochte to be able to qualify for the Olympics.

In his Today show interview, Lochte revealed that he wants to compete for his children. He said: “I want to show my kids that no matter what, no matter how many times you get knocked down, that you can get up and you can keep fighting.”