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Ryan Lochte Suspended by US Swimming, USOC After Rio Incident: Details, Reaction

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured Columnist

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 12:  Ryan Lochte of the United States attends a press conference in the Main Press Center on Day 7 of the Rio Olympics on August 12, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
Matt Hazlett/Getty Images

USA Swimming and the United States Olympic Committee have suspended swimmer Ryan Lochte after he lied about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Summer Olympics. 

The punishment was made official Thursday, with USA Swimming outlining the other punishments in addition to a 10-month suspension:

1. Suspended from domestic and international USA Swimming national team competitions for 10 months (through June 30, 2017), including the 2017 National Championships, which renders him ineligible for the 2017 FINA World Championships.
2. During the suspension, no monthly stipend from USA Swimming or the USOC.
3. During the suspension, no direct support or access to training centers or other facilities of the USOC.
4. Forfeits all USOC and USA Swimming medal funding for his gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games.
5. Will perform 20 hours of community service.
6. Not permitted to join Team USA for its White House visit in connection with the Rio 2016 Games.
7. Not permitted to attend USA Swimming’s annual "Golden Goggles" event in 2016.

Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger also received punishments outlined in the press release:

1. Suspended from domestic and international USA Swimming national team competitions for four months (through Dec. 31, 2016). 
2. During the suspension, no monthly stipend from USA Swimming or the USOC.
3. During the suspension, no direct support or access to training centers or other facilities of the USOC.
4. Not permitted to join Team USA for its White House visit in connection with the Rio 2016 Games.
5. Not permitted to attend USA Swimming’s annual "Golden Goggles" event in 2016.

Christine Brennan of USA Today first reported the news of a suspension for Lochte on Wednesday, while USA Today's Nicole Auerbach reported the news of Feigen, Bentz and Conger also receiving punishment. 

On Aug. 19, the six-time Olympic gold medalist tweeted an apology after the ordeal developed into an international spectacle:      

Ryan Lochte @RyanLochte

https://t.co/n82dZH2gfl https://t.co/rGp1nmA94G

The 32-year-old initially alleged that he and Bentz, Feigen and Conger were robbed at gunpoint in a taxi on their way home from a party. He went on NBC's Today to discuss the events of the evening in question, according to the Associated Press

We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over. They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground—they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn't do anything wrong, so—I'm not getting down on the ground.

And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, "Get down," and I put my hands up, I was like "whatever." He took our money, he took my wallet—he left my cellphone, he left my credentials.

However, shortly after Lochte gave the interview, Brazilian police disclosed that the decorated swimmer had fabricated the story.

"No robbery was committed against these athletes. They were not victims of the crimes they claimed," Civil Police Chief Fernando Veloso said during a news conference, per the AP.

Furthermore, the AP cited a source who said Conger and Bentz both told Brazilian police during questioning that Lochte's story was false. 

"The closed-circuit video shows one of the swimmers pulling a sign off of a wall and dropping it onto the ground," the AP reported. "A gas station worker arrives, and other workers inspect the damage. Veloso said the swimmers broke a door, a soap dispenser and a mirror. The swimmers eventually talk with station workers as their cab leaves."

An anonymous police official also told the AP that two guards pointed guns at the swimmers during the incident. Veloso did not confirm whether that was true, but he said the guards' actions would have been justified because the athletes "were conducting themselves in a violent way."

A 12-time Olympic medalist, Lochte will now have to watch the United States program develop from afar as he seeks to make amends for his actions.

Considering Lochte will be nearly 36 years old by the time the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo roll around, his status with USA Swimming team moving forward appears to be in a precarious place.  

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