Ryan Lochte to Get Treatment for Alcohol Addiction He's Had for 'Many Years'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 8, 2018

FILE - In this May 12, 2016, file photo, Ryan Lochte listens to a question from the media in Charlotte, N.C. Lochte announced his engagement to former Playboy model Kayla Rae Reid on Instagram, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)
Chuck Burton/Associated Press

Ryan Lochte's attorney, Jeff Ostrow, told ESPN.com that the Olympic swimmer will undergo treatment for an addiction to alcohol that he's had for an extended period of time. 

Ostrow first spoke publicly about Lochte's struggles with alcoholism over the weekend with TMZ:

"Ryan has been battling alcohol addiction for many years and unfortunately it has become a destructive pattern for him. He has acknowledged that he needs professional assistance to overcome his problem and will be getting help immediately. Ryan knows that conquering this disease now is a must for him to avoid making future poor decisions, to be the best husband and father he can be, and if he wants to achieve his goal to return to dominance in the pool in his fifth Olympics in Tokyo in 2020."

Lochte, 34, is a 12-time Olympic medalist and six-time gold medalist, most recently earning gold at the 2016 Rio Games in the 4x200m freestyle relay. Only Michael Phelps (28) has more Olympic medals in swimming than Lochte.

But in recent years, issues out of the pool have defined his career.

Lochte caused controversy in 2016 when he claimed he was held at gunpoint and robbed at a Rio gas station after a night of partying, per David Meeks of USA Today. But Rio police said that Lochte and three other U.S. swimmers—Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen—had vandalized the gas station bathroom and that Lochte's robbery story was false. 

Further investigations suggested that the truth was somewhere in between both accusations. Lochte allegedly did tear a poster off the wall but did not vandalize the restroom and was detained by armed security guards who aimed their weapons at the group of swimmers. He was not robbed, however, and charges of "falsely communicating a crime to authorities" were ultimately dropped by a Brazilian appellate court.

He was suspended 10 months for the incident in a joint decision from the IOC, USOC and USA Swimming.

Lochte is also currently serving a 14-month ban for receiving an intravenous injection in May. While a USADA investigation found that the swimmer didn't take a banned substance, intravenous injections are only permitted for Olympic athletes if they are hospitalized or granted an exemption from USADA. Lochte didn't meet that criteria. 

Lochte has long held the image of the party animal, which even extended to his short-lived reality program, What Would Ryan Lochte Do?, which lasted for one season in 2013.

"They had me drinking nonstop," Lochte said of the show in 2017, per Allison Grock of ESPN.com. "Eight in the morning, a drink in my hand. I'm like, my liver is about to fail."