(ABC)– Swimmer Ryan Lochte has been suspended 10 months by the United States Olympic Committee and USA Swimming for his involvement in a highly publicized, late-night incident at a gas station during the Rio Games last month, according to multiple reports.
The 12-time Olympic medalist said a stranger pointed a gun at him and demanded money to let him leave the gas station. Lochte had initially called it a robbery; Brazilian police said he and three other swimmers (Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen) vandalized a bathroom at the station and were confronted by armed security guards.
The incident — and the swimmers’ ever-changing descriptions of it — became a major storyline of the Rio Games.
It shocked and angered Brazilians, who said it cast an unearned negative shadow on Rio and the Olympics at a time when the country was eager to prove it could host the Games safely. It dominated headlines, overshadowing the accomplishments of athletes who trained for years just to get there. And it was an embarrassment for the U.S. Olympic team, which dominated the medal count.
Last month, the USOC echoed Olympic officials in publicly expressing disappointment and pledging to further examine the matter.
“We apologize to our hosts in Rio and the people of Brazil for this distracting ordeal in the midst of what should rightly be a celebration of excellence,” the USOC said.
Lochte reportedly will miss the 2017 world championships as part of the suspension, which was first reported by TMZ Sports.
Since returning to the United States, he has lost all four of his endorsements. Three companies — Speedo, Gentle Hair Removal and Airweave — terminated their deals with the swimmer, while Ralph Lauren said it wouldn’t renew its deal that ran through the 2016 Olympics.
Lochte will appear on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” this season.