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Swimming

Ryan Lochte banned for 10 months for bogus hold-up story

Ryan Lochte will miss the 2017 swimming world championships.
Ryan Lochte will miss the 2017 swimming world championships. Reuters/David Gray

Swimmer Ryan Lochte has been suspended for 10 months following his bogus story about being held-up at gunpoint during a night out with friends at the Rio Olympics. 

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The US Olympic Committee (USOC) and USA Swimming announced the punishment against the swimmer as well as four-month bans for Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen.

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

The incident at a petrol station in Rio took place on 14 August just after the end of the swimming competitions.

The group stopped to use the bathroom and, finding the door locked, urinated behind the building, during which time Lochte is said to have vandalised a poster.

Lochte, 32, initially said he and three other swimmers were the victims of a robbery. The 12-time Olympic medalist later backtracked when a police investigation found security guards stopped the swimmers at the petrol station. Brazilian authorities have charged Lochte with falsely reporting a crime.

"I over-exaggerated that story and if I had never done that, we wouldn't be in this mess," Lochte told NBC once he returned to the United States.

Sponsors, including Speedo and Ralph Lauren, dropped Lochte in the aftermath of the story.

The suspension means that he will not be able to compete at the world championships next July in Budapest.

 

 

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