Olympian Ryan Lochte To Enter Treatment for Alcoholism

By Paul Gaita 10/09/18

A pair of incidents with the law were the reported reasons behind Lochte's decision to enter treatment. 

Ryan Lochte

Twelve-time Olympic swimming medalist Ryan Lochte will seek treatment for alcohol addiction after a string of incidents that culminated in a car crash on October 4.

Lochte's lawyer, Jeff Ostrow, stated that the 34-year-old "has been battling... alcohol addiction for many years, and unfortunately, it has become a destructive pattern."

Ostrow added that his client's goals are to be "the best husband and father he can be" and to return to competitive swimming for his fifth Olympic Games in 2020.

Lochte has amassed an impressive treasure chest of laurels in swimming, including six Olympic gold medals, but since 2016, has also generated headlines for his involvement in several swimming-related scandals.

He was widely criticized for embellishing his account of a 2016 incident during the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro in which he and three teammates were allegedly robbed at gunpoint.

Lochte later apologized for his statement and for what he described as "immature behavior," including damage to a gas station bathroom, which caused an altercation with security guards. 

He was subsequently suspended from swimming for 10 months and banned from participating in a 2017 world championship event.

In 2018, Lochte was suspended for a second time for reportedly receiving an intravenous infusion without a therapeutic use exemption.

Though Lochte claimed that the injection only contained vitamins, he was handed down a 14-month suspension, which effectively halted his comeback after the 2016 incident.

On October 4, police were called at approximately 3 a.m. to a hotel in Newport Beach, California where Lochte had kicked in the door to his room while allegedly under the influence of alcohol. No arrest was made, but according to TMZ, he was later involved in a car accident in Gainesville, Florida, after flying in from California.

Police were again summoned, and Lochte, who had reportedly failed to brake before striking the car ahead of him, was cited for "careless driving." Alcohol was not mentioned in the police report, as TMZ noted.

The pair of incidents was apparently enough for Lochte to seek assistance for his substance use issues.

According to his lawyer, he "has acknowledged that he needs professional assistance to overcome his problem, and will be getting help immediately. Ryan knows that conquering this disease now is a must for him to avoid making poor decisions, to be the best husband and father he can be, and if he wants to achieve his goal to return to dominance in the pool in his fifth Olympics in Tokyo in 2020."

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.