This past summer, worried anticipation overshadowed the Rio 2016 Olympics. Citizens were concerned about the safety of athletes as they headed to Brazil to compete. This situation felt familiar, considering two years ago these same worries were arising for the athletes heading to Sochi to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics. Brazil is known for high crime rates and violence, so families and fans were all hoping for a safe Olympic Games this year.
Despite the swimming pool turning green, the Rio games seemed to be going smoothly. This all changed on the morning of August 14th, when Lochte claimed he and his fellow teammates had been robbed at gunpoint and forced out of their taxi early in the morning. Media and fans worldwide were alarmed by the mugging. Ryan Lochte proceeded to appear in a Today Show interview in which he talked about how the muggers “posed as armed police officers” and demanded all their money and personal belongings. It only took days for the swimmer’s story to unravel into a sea of lies.
The truth was that Lochte and his teammates had been out drinking and late that night they vandalized a bathroom. Reports claim they damaged the door, tore down signs, and broke the mirrors. Yes, he had been stopped at gunpoint, but the muggers were not posing as cops, in fact they were cops. Not only did Lochte blatantly lie about the entire situation, but there is security camera footage to prove everything he did.
Lochte ruined everything. He and fellow teammate Michael Phelps are getting old, and won’t be able to compete in the olympics forever; they desperately need sponsorships to continue making money from this point on. After the incident, Lochte almost immediately lost all his previous endorsements. Many large companies, including Speedo and Ralph Lauren, pulled their million dollar deals with Lochte. But money isn’t the only problem for Lochte. He was also charged with “providing a false claim of a robbery”, and if he is officially convicted he could be jailed up to 18 months.
Despite ruining his entire future and reputation, Lochte also affected other by tainting America’s image on a world scale. If you compete in the Olympics you are supposed to represent your country and behave accordingly. He also disrespected the Brazilian people by drawing worldwide attention to the violence and crime in Brazil, which has upset many citizens and officials.
In an interview days after Lochte stated, “To the gas station owner, to the Brazilian police, to the people of Rio… I just want to say that I am truly 110% sorry. It won’t happen again.” I’m not sure if many people will accept his apology.
By Liam Katz