Ryan Lochte suspended for 10 months over false robbery claim


Disgraced Olympian Ryan Lochte was banned from competitive swimming for 10 months on Wednesday for falsely claiming he and three American team-mates were robbed at gunpoint during the Rio Games.

The 32-year-old was suspended by United States Swimming and the US Olympic Committee until June 30, 2017, ruling him out of next year’s World Championships in Budapest.

Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen were handed four-month bans for their part in the scandal.

USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun said: The behaviour of these athletes was not acceptable. It unfairly maligned our hosts and diverted attention away from the historic achievements of Team USA.

Each of the athletes has accepted responsibility for his actions and accepted the appropriate sanctions.

Lochte took his Olympic medals haul to 12 last month after helping capture the men’s 4×200 metres freestyle gold, but his achievement was overshadowed by his actions out of the pool.

That was after claimed he, Bentz, Conger and Feigen were robbed by thieves posing as armed police as their taxi took them back to the athletes’ village from a party in the early hours of August 14.

However, Rio police spotted inconsistencies in the quartet’s initial statements and, following an investigation, the group were accused of lying to cover up vandalising a petrol station.

A security guard at the station did pull his gun but only to calm down an aggressive Lochte, according to civil police chief Fernando Veloso, and the four swimmers left the scene before officers arrived, having handed over a small sum of money to pay for the damage.

While Lochte left Rio a couple of days after the incident, Bentz and Conger were dramatically hauled off a US-bound flight and only allowed to leave the country after questioning.

Feigen made a charitable donation of more than £8,000 to have charges of criminal damage and falsely reporting a crime dropped, and to get his passport back.

The suspensions on the four swimmers were imposed due to them breaching the code of conduct of both the USOC and USA Swimming.

All four will receive no funding and will be unable to access USOC training centres or other facilities for the duration of their sanctions.

Lochte, who subsequently publicly apologised for his behaviour, was also been ordered to perform 20 hours of community service and will forfeit his medal funding from the USOC and USA Swimming for his gold in Rio.

News Source TelegraphNews

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