It was “over-exaggerated.”
“To be clear, yes I was in a very dark place after Rio, but I never thought about taking my own life,” Lochte, 32, said, according to TMZ Sports.
He told the outlet that the story was “the media twisting what I told ESPN.”
“I would never do that. That’s not me,” Lochte clarified.
Earlier in the week he had been prompted to talk about the aftermath of the 2016 incident in which he and three other swimmers said they were robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. However, surveillance video emerged of the athletes vandalizing a gas station bathroom.
So, Lochte said that he’d been intoxicated and that the story was “over-exaggerated.” Ultimately, his entire story was disproven. No armed men had been involved, stealing his money. In fact, he’d allegedly offered money as repayment for the bathroom damage.
He was suspended from swimming for 10 months. Shortly thereafter, news broke of Lochte’s appearance on the ABC show “Dancing with the Stars.” He finished in seventh place.
In speaking with TMZ Sports, Lochte said, “I’m a fighter, always have been, and always will be. I knew that I would do whatever necessary to get through that horrible time, and most importantly to once again earn the trust of my friends, family, and the public, who have always been so supportive of me.”
Lochte is awaiting the birth of his son, with his fiancee, Kayla.
In his ESPN interview, he teased an appearance at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo — by which point he’ll be turning 37.
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