It has almost been a year since the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. While in Brazil, American athlete Ryan Lochte made quite the stir for all the wrong reasons, lying about being robbed with some fellow teammates. Now Lochte has opened up about his emotional state in the days following the incident and the backlash he received for it. In a recent interview, Lochte said,
If you are wondering whether Ryan Lochte was again "over-exaggerating" with his words--he wasn't. The ESPN the Magazine interviewer asked Lochte point blank if he was referring to suicide, and Lochte nodded. It is a shame Lochte was in such a dark place after the events. Luckily, he bounced back from the depression and began moving forward in his life.
Lochte and his Playboy model girlfriend, Kayla Rae Reid, have since become engaged. Now they are expecting their first child. Lochte did a (controversial) stint on Dancing with the Stars after returning from Brazil. He has won some new sponsors with Debt.com and Powerbar, and he has begun training to get on the US team that will compete at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
The 32-year-old competitive swimmer got in trouble in Brazil when he lied and said an armed robber confronted him and his three teammates--Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and Jimmy Feigen--at a gas station in Rio. However, when local authorities reported otherwise, Ryan Lochte changed his tune and came forward about the real situation. Apparently, Lochte and his friends were inebriated, and they damaged a sign outside a gas station and urinated on the building, which kicked off a negative interaction with security guards.
Ryan Lochte has apologized and admitted he had "over-exaggerated" what had happened. Still, as a result of the incident, Lochte lost his sponsorships with companies such as Ralph Lauren and Speedo. He faced various penalties. For example, USA Swimming gave Lochte a ten-month suspension, which ends on June 30. Above all, Lochte lost favor with a lot of people around the world, and the gravity of the situation weighed on his emotions.
Ryan Lochte also mentioned that people were looking to dislike him. At the time, many people have felt that Lochte's behavior was unbecoming of an Olympic athlete. It fed "racially based perceptions of crime," as the article notes. Moreover, Brazil was doing everything it could to prove wrong the safety concerns that his deceptions merely tried to advance. So to say people were looking for a reason to dislike him could undermine his apology.
Nevertheless, it is great to hear Ryan Lochte is doing better now. Hopefully, Lochte can learn from the past and put it behind him to enjoy the exciting moments on the horizon.
UPDATE: Ryan Lochte has since talked to TMZ and backtracked on the article ESPN wrote claiming he was in a dark place but not suicidal and that he's a fighter:
Take these comments as you will.