Ryan Lochte Says He Contemplated Suicide After Scandal at Rio Olympics
Last summer U.S. swimmers Ryan Lochte, Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz, and Jack Conger found themselves embroiled in a scandal that rocked the Rio Olympics. After urinating outside the bathroom of a Rio gas station and supposedly causing some minor damage to the facilities, they got into an altercation with the gas station owner and his security guards. However, they later made up a story about being pulled over by armed criminals pretending to be cops who robbed them at gunpoint.
The media lambasted the swimmers over the false police report. However, Lochte got more heat than the others because he was more famous, and because he was the older veteran who should have been leading by example. And in the end he lost pretty much all of his endorsements.
Now, nearly 10 months later, Lochte has revealed in an in-depth interview with ESPN’s Allison Glock that things got so bad for him after returning from Rio that he briefly contemplated suicide.
Here’s an excerpt:
“People wanted a reason to hate me,” Lochte says about his crimes and misdemeanors. And he gave them one: His initial deceptions, combined with his feeding of racially based perceptions of crime, generated a perfect storm of global righteous indignation, all directed tsunami-style at Lochte.
“Everything was blown out of proportion,” [finacée Kayla Reid] says, stabbing at a forkful of lettuce.
Were you completely hammered?
“Oh, we were, yeah,” Lochte says sheepishly. “And that’s why-“
“They were celebrating their victory,” Reid interjects. “At the time, I really had to sew my mouth shut.” She shakes her head, cheeks flushed. “People treated him like he murdered somebody.”
When Lochte arrived home in Charlotte (on what he says was a prescheduled flight), there were a dozen media vans outside his house. He watched the news, read the online comments, the searing articles outlining how “Ryan Lochte Is the Worst!” In days, he lost every sponsor. He also received death threats. At a public appearance, Reid had a glass thrown at her head.
“After Rio, I was probably the most hated person in the world,” Lochte mumbles. “There were a couple of points where I was crying, thinking, ‘If I go to bed and never wake up, fine.'” Asked if that means he considered suicide, Lochte nods slowly. “I was about to hang up my entire life.”
Reid’s jaw stiffens. She strokes Lochte’s shoulder, eyes narrowed with concern. He takes a deep breath, looks around the pool at the diners blithely snacking on fruit salads and cheeseburgers. After a beat, he forces a smile.
Thankfully Lochte realized that his troubles would pass, and that he had a lot to live for. He and Reid have a baby due this month.
Click here to read the entire interview.