Despite the high-profile gas station incident in Rio, world record-holder Ryan Lochte confirmed that he plans to swim through the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, even if that means serving a suspension.
Lochte was involved in a now-infamous altercation at a gas station in Rio de Janeiro. He is accused of causing damages to a gas station bathroom and acting aggressively toward a security guard, plus lying about the incident and alleging a false crime when he originally claimed he was robbed at gunpoint.
Authorities like the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and International Olympic Committee (IOC), among others, are mulling potential punishments or suspensions against Lochte, but the 32-year-old swimmer told TMZ he still plans to swim four more years through the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
“I’m still going to be swimming,” Lochte says. “I’m swimming for another four years. So however long my suspension is… I’m going to get back in that water.”
He says a USOC suspension would be “heartbreaking” and says he wants to learn from his mistakes in Rio.
“It’s definitely something I’m gonna have to be more responsible about. Everything that happened in Rio, I’m gonna learn from. We’re human, we learn from our mistakes.
“I know I’ve learned from it, and I’ve just got to start back from ground one.”
Asked about his separation from longtime sponsor Speedo in the aftermath of the incident, Lochte says:
“It stinks. Speedo was great to me. They were like a second family throughout my swimming career. And I guess it’s a new chapter now.”
He’s also asked what he would do if he were suspended. Lochte says he’d stay in contact with the water even if he isn’t allowed to compete, and also talked about coaching young swimmers:
“I think I would swim just because I love the exercise, I love being in the water. I would definitely start working with kids, teaching them things I’ve learned throughout my swimming career. Because I have so much love and passion for the sport of swimming that I just want to make it bigger.”