No one beat Ryan Lochte up more than Ryan Lochte after his 2016 Rio Olympics scandal.
The publicity embattled swimmer spoke with ESPN the Magazine for their “World Fame” issue and opened up about the aftermath of that fateful night last summer.
“You can be at the all-time high and then the next second the all-time low,” Lochte said. “I love being at the Olympics, but I’m the opposite of what you’d expect. It’s been that way my whole life. I don’t fit in.”
Lochte falsely claimed that he and fellow Team USA swimmers Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and James Feigen were robbed at gunpoint at a gas station in Brazil. An investigation concluded they lied and were responsible for vandalizing property on site. The swimmers were detained by armed officials who demanded money for the damages before letting them head back to the Olympic Village. Lochte later admitted to “over-exaggerating” the story.
“After Rio, I was probably the most hated person in the world,” Lochte confessed. “There were a couple of points where I was crying, thinking, ‘If I go to bed and never wake up, fine.’”
When the reporter asked Lochte if he meant he contemplated suicide, Lochte “nods slowly.”
“I was about to hang up my entire life,” the 32-year-old Olympic gold medalist revealed.
Lochte’s pregnant fiancée, Kayla Rae Reid, also talked with ESPN for the article titled, “Do You Still Really Hate Ryan Lochte?”
“Everything was blown out of proportion,” the Playboy model said while “stabbing at a forkful of lettuce.”
“People wanted a reason to hate me,” Lochte added.
When asked if they were completely hammered at the time of the incident, Lochte “sheepishly” replied, “Oh, we were, yeah. And that’s why.”
Reid, 25, interjected, “They were celebrating their victory… At the time, I really had to sew my mouth shut… People treated him like he murdered somebody.”
After returning home, Lochte received a slew of negative press and even death threats, while Reid had glass thrown at her head during a public appearance. The swimmer embarked on a forgive me tour, which included a stint on Dancing With the Stars.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Lochte noted. “Look, I was done with swimming back in 2013. I was drained, wiped out. Now I’ve found a new purpose with my son. This fire has been ignited, and it’s bigger than ever, and I’m just so excited because I know what’s going to happen in Tokyo. Everyone is going to have to watch out!”
One thing that happened? Lochte proposed to his then-girlfriend, and has credited the scandal with helping him realize that Reid was “the one.”
“Through everything that’s happened, we’ve established ups and downs [that] most people establish in a relationship in 20 years. We did it in a matter of almost a year,” he told ET. “She stuck right there by me and just was my rock. That’s when I knew. I was like, ‘I’m not letting this one go.’”
Reid and Lochte are set to welcome their first child together, a son, this summer.
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