9 Sep 2016

Ban for Lochte confirmed

7:26 am on 9 September 2016

The American swimmer Ryan Lochte has been suspended for 10 months and will miss next year's world championships for his part in a scandal involving the US athlete and three other swimmers at the Rio Olympics.

Lochte, who won gold in the 4x200 metres freestyle relay in Rio, will also forfeit bonus money from the Games, monthly funding he receives from United States Olympics Committee and USA Swimming and will not be allowed access to USOC training centres.

Ryan Lochte

Ryan Lochte Photo: AFP

He will miss next year's national championships and will therefore not be eligible for the world championships in July.

He must perform 20 hours of community service and will miss Team USA's post-Olympics trip to the White House.

Lochte, 32, admitted he "over-exaggerated" a tale about being robbed and held at gunpoint after a party during the Rio Olympics.

US Olympic swimmers James Feigen, Ryan Lochte, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger.

US Olympic swimmers James Feigen, Ryan Lochte, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger. Photo: AFP

Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, James Feigen, Lochte's swimming team mates who were involved in the incident, also received sanctions for violating the USOC's code of conduct.

"As we have said previously, the behaviour of these athletes was not acceptable. It unfairly maligned our hosts and diverted attention away from the historic achievements of Team USA," said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun in a statement.

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

FINA, world swimming's governing body, said in a statement that it was satisfied with the sanctions and would not seek additional bans.

Lochte's lawyer, Jeff Ostrow, said in a statement: "We accept the decision as we believe it is in everyone's best interest to move forward. Ryan is grateful to be a member of the US Olympic team and USA Swimming.

"He recognises his lapse in judgment, and is looking forward to continuing his training, volunteer work with kids, and resuming his swimming career next year with an eye toward representing his country at the 2020 Olympic games in Japan.

"That said, in my opinion, while the collective sanctions appear to be harsh when considering what actually happened that day - Ryan did not commit a crime, he did not put the public safety at risk, and he did not cheat in his sport - we will leave it to others to evaluate the appropriateness of the penalties."

Bentz, Conger and Feigen will be suspended from domestic and international USA swimming national team competitions for four months and will not receive monthly funding from USA Swimming or USOC during that period.

They will also have no access to training facilities and will not attend Team USA's White House visit.

Bentz will also perform 10 hours of community service for violating a USA Swimming Olympic Village curfew placed on athletes under the age of 21.

In what became one of the biggest stories of the Rio Games, Brazilian authorities said the group of swimmers destroyed a bathroom and urinated in public, and have recommended that Lochte be charged with falsely reporting a crime.