Ryan Lochte Reveals Suicidal Thoughts After 2016 Olympics Scandal

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 18:  Professional swimmer Ryan Lochte attends day three of TAO, Beauty & Essex, Avenue and Luchini LA Grand Opening on March 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for TAO)
Michael Kovac/Getty Images

American Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte said he had suicidal thoughts following the gas station scandal that arose during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

On Tuesday, Allison Glock of ESPN passed along comments from Lochte, who explained his mindset after he became public enemy No. 1 for a short period of time.

"After Rio, I was probably the most hated person in the world," he said. "There were a couple of points where I was crying, thinking, 'If I go to bed and never wake up, fine.'"

Glock asked whether that meant he considered suicide, and Lochte nodded in the affirmative before adding, "I was about to hang up my entire life."

Steve Visser of CNN noted the six-time Olympic gold medalist received a 10-month suspension from the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Swimming for his role in the scandal, which also included fellow American swimmers Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen.

Lochte made public statements declaring the quartet was robbed at gunpoint at a local gas station, which made international headlines. It was later reported they did damage to the facility after finding the bathrooms were locked and were approached to pay for the damages, per CNN.

The 32-year-old New York native later told NBC's Matt Lauer he "over-exaggerated" the story.

"It's how you want to make it look like. Whether you call it a robbery, whether you call it extortion, or us paying just for the damages, like, we don't know," Lochte said. "All we know is that there was a gun pointed in our direction, and we were demanded to give money."

In December, TMZ Sports reported Brazilian authorities told Lochte they would drop the charge of falsely reporting a crime if he paid a fine of just over $20,000. His attorney, Jeff Ostrow, said they weren't going to comment on the case, though.

Now Lochte has shifted his focus to qualifying for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan. He expressed confidence in his prospects during the ESPN interview.

"Everything happens for a reason," he said. "Look, I was done with swimming back in 2013. I was drained, wiped out. Now I've found a new purpose with my son. This fire has been ignited, and it's bigger than ever, and I'm just so excited because I know what's going to happen in Tokyo. Everyone is going to have to watch out!"

He'll be eligible to resume competition following next month's world championships in Hungary.