Lochte Suspended 10 Months, Conger, Bentz, Feigen 4 Months

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and USA Swimming have announced the official punishments for four Olympic swimmers involved in an incident at a gas station bathroom in Brazil.

The USOC’s press release confirms yesterday’s report that Ryan Lochte would serve a 10-month suspension and be rendered ineligible for the 2017 FINA World Championships.

In addition, Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen will all serve 4-month suspensions that will keep them out of national team competitions through the end of the calendar year.

Bentz, being under 21, also has to serve 10 hours of community service for breaking USA Swimming’s curfew rules for athletes under 21.

Here are the major points of the full penalties for all four:

Ryan Lochte:

  • 10-month suspension
  • Will miss 2017 Nationals, which means he is unable to qualify for 2017 Worlds
  • No monthly USA Swimming stipend during suspension
  • 20 hours community service
  • Not allowed to visit White House with Olympic team
  • Not allowed to attend Golden Goggles

Jack Conger, Jimmy Feigen:

  • 4-month suspension
  • No monthly USA Swimming stipend during suspension
  • Not allowed to visit White House with Olympic team
  • Not allowed to attend Golden Goggles

Gunnar Bentz:

  • 4-month suspension
  • No monthly USA Swimming stipend during suspension
  • Not allowed to visit White House with Olympic team
  • Not allowed to attend Golden Goggles
  • 10 hours community service

For Bentz and Conger, there’s no word yet on how this will affect their NCAA eligibility for the fall season, but the suspension will keep Bentz, Conger and Feigen out of the running for the U.S. Short Course World Championships, which take place in December. USA Swimming’s Winter Nationals are also ruled out due to this suspension.

 

Here’s the full USOC release:

 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic Committee and USA Swimming today jointly announced disciplinary measures for four members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team. Due to violations of each organization’s code of conduct, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, James Feigen and Ryan Lochte have agreed to serve suspensions and forfeit certain rewards and opportunities afforded to members of the U.S. Olympic Team.

The following sanctions have been agreed upon:

Applicable to Ryan Lochte:

1. Suspended from domestic and international USA Swimming national team competitions for 10 months (through June 30, 2017), including the 2017 National Championships, which renders him ineligible for the 2017 FINA World Championships.
2. During the suspension, no monthly stipend from USA Swimming or the USOC.
3. During the suspension, no direct support or access to training centers or other facilities of the USOC.
4. Forfeits all USOC and USA Swimming medal funding for his gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games.
5. Will perform 20 hours of community service.
6. Not permitted to join Team USA for its White House visit in connection with the Rio 2016 Games.
7. Not permitted to attend USA Swimming’s annual “Golden Goggles” event in 2016.

Applicable to Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen:

1. Suspended from domestic and international USA Swimming national team competitions for four months (through Dec. 31, 2016).
2. During the suspension, no monthly stipend from USA Swimming or the USOC.
3. During the suspension, no direct support or access to training centers or other facilities of the USOC.
4. Not permitted to join Team USA for its White House visit in connection with the Rio 2016 Games.
5. Not permitted to attend USA Swimming’s annual “Golden Goggles” event in 2016.

Further applicable to Gunnar Bentz due to violating a USA Swimming Olympic Village curfew rule placed on athletes under the age of 21:

1. Will perform 10 hours of community service.

“As we have said previously, the behavior of these athletes was not acceptable. It unfairly maligned our hosts and diverted attention away from the historic achievements of Team USA,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. “Each of the athletes has accepted responsibility for his actions and accepted the appropriate sanctions. We look forward to focusing our energy on the Paralympic Games and the incredible men and women representing our country in Rio.”

“During an otherwise extraordinary Olympic Games, a small group of athletes had lapses in judgement and conduct that are unacceptable and not consistent with our expectations. When Code of Conduct infractions occur, it’s our responsibility to take action that reflects the seriousness of what happened,” USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus said. “Unfortunately, this storyline took attention away from the athletes who deserved it the most. These athletes took accountability for their mistakes and are committed to represent themselves and our country with the great character and distinction we expect.”

The sanctions take effect immediately.

FINA has also published a statement saying it supported the USOC/USA Swimming sanctions but would not impose any further punishments on the four:

Regarding the case of the four US swimmers whose behaviour at Rio 2016 has resulted in suspensions from the US Olympic Committee and USA Swimming, and now that the key facts have been established, FINA considers the sanctions applied as proportionate, adequate and sufficient. FINA notes the addition of Community Service, as imposed by the IOC Disciplinary Commission.

In light of these measures, FINA will not apply additional sanctions and will implement those now imposed on the swimmers at all FINA events.

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MacNCheez
5 years ago

This seems overly harsh all around, especially on Bentz and Conger.

Colin
Reply to  MacNCheez
5 years ago

Bentz and Conger were truthful and cooperated with authorities and get four months suspension. Some federations are more lenient with those that fail or skip an in competition doping test. I’m glad that USA Swimming and the USOC hold our athletes to a high standard, but this seems a bit much.

JudgeNot
Reply to  Colin
5 years ago

Bentz and Conger were only truthful and only cooperated with authorities after they were pulled off their planes headed back to the US. The stand up thing would have been for them to be honest, transparent, and remorseful (as necessary) immediately after Lochte went public. Not saying it would have been easy, or comfortable, but it would have been mature and responsible. Clearly no muzzle was applied given Lochte’s repeat performances on national media.

Also – they were out drinking (and by all accounts getting quite drunk) until 5:00 AM in a city where some caution and decorum would have been wise, urinated on someone’s property, and just generally did not behave how athletes representing the US in a… Read more »

wethorn
Reply to  JudgeNot
5 years ago

WRT “45 other swimmers”…I’d be shocked if many more US swimmers weren’t out til 5 am partying in Rio, or even peeing on buildings. The main difference is that no one else’s behavior was publicly scrutinized.

spectatorn
Reply to  wethorn
5 years ago

fortunately for any of the 45 that broke the rule but did not “get caught” – like doper, it is all about being caught and no loophole to escape. As also pointed out by others, if one is not the biggest star of the team, there is a higher chance one will be punished and maybe even harsher punishment to “demonstrate” the consequence and highlight the federations to be “righteous” and “fair”.

I agree the athletes should bear responsibility of their behavior. The story itself was blown out of proposition by all (including Rio police and media). I agree the athletes should be punished for breaking USA Swimming or USOC rules like being out etc. Just not sure if… Read more »

Caleb
Reply to  JudgeNot
5 years ago

There’s no evidence to support the more serious allegation here: that Conger or Bentz ever lied to authorities. They claimed they were, in their statements, and no one in Brazil or with the USOC has contradicted that. There was no obligation to hold a press conference to contradict Lochte after he went on TV and no one with knowledge of the situation has claimed that they lied to team officials.

As to drinking and staying out late… I wasn’t there and I don’t know who “by all accounts getting quite drunk” refers to. None of this group but Lochte did anything more egregious than pee in an alley and surveillance video only shows them walking around, sedately.

Bentz… Read more »

Caleb
Reply to  Caleb
5 years ago

fixing typo: “claimed they were TRUTHFUL WITH POLICE”

Swammer
Reply to  MacNCheez
5 years ago

At least they get to keep their gold medal money.

CPA Swimmer
Reply to  Swammer
5 years ago

Except Feigen. Gold Medal Money is taxable. Feigen’s extorted payment is a characterized as a charitable contribution. It can’t be claimed as an expense and I bet your butt he doesn’t itemize so it’s not a deduction. Basically Feigen lost money on this whole thing AND that’s without consideration of legal expenses, extended Rio stay, etc. This is crazy.

Cold brew
Reply to  CPA Swimmer
5 years ago

Ryan said he would pay Jimmy back.

Joe Bagodonuts
Reply to  Cold brew
5 years ago

That payment would be declarable income, too.

GatorFan
Reply to  Joe Bagodonuts
5 years ago

Not if it’s a gift

SUNY Cal
Reply to  MacNCheez
5 years ago

Any way they can try & appeal any of this or is a done deal??

Joe Bagodonuts
Reply to  SUNY Cal
5 years ago

At this point, probably best just to let things play out and not make additional waves.

BarryA
Reply to  SUNY Cal
5 years ago

The email/press release indicates they accepted the sanctions, so not really.

Ice age swimmer
5 years ago

Way too heavy handed.

Swimmer A
5 years ago

This seems fair.

Michael
Reply to  Swimmer A
5 years ago

Phelps gets his second DUI and is suspended for 6 months. Lochte pees on a building, lies about the incident (which we’ve found out had more truth than what the Brazilian police were letting onto), and gets 10 months… O yeah, those equate out to an even and fair distribution of punishment.

Swimmer A
Reply to  Michael
5 years ago

DUI is worse, but it’s also our judicial system’s job to doll out punishments for that. USA swimming made an exception by giving Phelps a 6 month suspension.

Sccoach
5 years ago

That’s total bs if it effects Bentz and Conger’s college season. As far as I know they did nothing wrong other than Bentz breaking the curfew. Guilty by association I guess.

How exactly did they break the code of conduct?

J.C.
Reply to  Sccoach
5 years ago

I’m also confused by what Bentz and Conger are being punished for aside from Bentz’ curfew violation and why they are receiving the same length of suspension as Feigen. The only thing I can think of is the speculation I saw online that maybe Conger and Bentz could’ve told someone, like their coach, what really happened a lot sooner, but I’m not sure.

Lennart van Haaften
Reply to  J.C.
5 years ago

Didn’t they admit peeing on someone’s property? And that while representing the US abroad. It’s maybe not the worst thing ever, but I’m surprised how many posters here think that is totally fine.

Gary P
Reply to  Lennart van Haaften
5 years ago

There’s a lot of space between “totally fine” and a 4 month suspension.

R&R
Reply to  Lennart van Haaften
5 years ago

Since pretty much all swimmers pee in the pool at least once a day, and that is someone else’s property (not to mention that people are literally swimming through with their mouths open)… I am surprised that you are surprised.

OldHilltopper
Reply to  R&R
5 years ago

If I had a nickel for every time I peed somewhere I wasn’t supposed to I would have a lot of nickels. I mean a lot!

BarryA
Reply to  Sccoach
5 years ago

We could just look at the decision from the USAS Board of Review. Oh right, they keep those secret.

OLDMACSMR
Reply to  BarryA
5 years ago

I’m pretty sure this did not go through a NBOR. Just like with Phelps USA-Swimming did their own thing. If we have the NBOR structure in place, why don’t we use it? However, that means a member of USA-Swimming would’ve had to bring a complaint against Lochte et al.

swimmmer
5 years ago

Can these be appealed??

Joe Bagodonuts
Reply to  swimmmer
5 years ago

Only by someone wanting to keep their name and the story in the headlines – all while permitting a portrayal of them as STILL not owning up to what they did and still resisting the assumption of any responsibility for their conduct and lack of good judgment.

BarryA
Reply to  swimmmer
5 years ago

No, they accepted the sanctions already.

racepaceswimming
5 years ago

While the suspension to Bentz and Conger seem harsh……….it’s a great life lesson for everyone NOW and in the future on what “could” go wrong when you don’t think about what could go wrong. I’m sure they were all thinking it would be a great time, but when you’re in an environment where you don’t know the language, customs, and laws, seems that following the party isn’t the best laid plan.

Sccoach
Reply to  racepaceswimming
5 years ago

I think all they could possibly learn here is to stay away from Ryan Lochte

Michael
Reply to  racepaceswimming
5 years ago

Just like how people remembered what happened with Troy Dalbey and Doug Gjersten in Seoul, Korea back in 1988…

Ohioswimmer
5 years ago

Call me thick headed, but what exactly are the other 3 being punished for? I get the curfew violation thing for the under21 , but the suspension doesn’t seem tied to that. For being in the wrong place at the wrong time, for being held at gunpoint cause Lochte had to rip a poster off the wall and be a jackass? For stupidity in thinking it was a good idea going out with Lochte in the first place? Honestly, I don’t really get what they did??? They were basically witnesses, and arguably victims (again at gunpoint), and they told the truth to the authorities when interviewed. What am I missing?

swimdoc
Reply to  Ohioswimmer
5 years ago

I guess we don’t know what was said or, perhaps more importantly to USA Swimming and the USOC, not said by the other three to team officials and coaches. Part of the message sent with this harsh (too harsh, in my opinion) message is that if your teammate screws up and you know about it, you better rat on them pronto. I’m obviously speculating, but I doubt the other three went running to Bob Bowman after Lochte’s story first hit the press and said that it didn’t happen exactly that way. I’m not faulting them, but I bet those that stuck their necks out in support of Lochte to the press do. What a great team building activity.

I… Read more »

G.I.N.A
Reply to  swimdoc
5 years ago

It would be better if American leaders never knew anything about Aleppo . Wtf has Syria ever done to the US?

HRC wants to kill absolutely everyone & DT wants to ( for some reason) take door Iraqs oil .

G.I.N.A
Reply to  G.I.N.A
5 years ago

My military friends tell me it is the opinion of military historians & strategists that the US is about to go into an isolationist stage . I think the US has been dragged into conflicts by allies in order to entangle them & postpone this .So we don’t know if is in the last throes (HRC) or beginning to turn inward .

J.C.
Reply to  Ohioswimmer
5 years ago

Feigen admitted that during his first interview with Rio police, he omitted the fact that they had urinated behind the building and Ryan Lochte had pulled a poster off the wall. He didn’t tell the truth to authorities when interviewed.

The under 21 curfew violation aside, I’m also not really sure what Bentz and Conger are being punished for, or why they received the same length of suspension as Feigen when there isn’t any indication they lied or omitted facts of wrongdoing as Jimmy and Ryan did. I saw speculation that Bentz and Conger could’ve told someone, like their coach, what really happened a lot sooner and that maybe that has to do with their punishment, but I’m not sure.

Swimmer1
Reply to  Ohioswimmer
5 years ago

In my opinion, being Olympians the right thing to do would have been to come forward when Lochte falsely accused people in Rio of ” robbing him at gunpoint.” This was ALL over the news and took away from the wonderful games taking place. NOT coming forward to set the record straight was understandable yet cowardly. And I believe they deserved punished for it as accomplices to the lies.

mcgillrocks
5 years ago

What exactly did Conger do to deserve any punishment?

Unless I’m missing something he
A) did not vandalize anything
B) did not act disorderly
C) did not give a false police report
D) did not mislead or embellish to the international media
E) was not even punished by the stringent and reactionary Rio authorities
F) was of legal drinking age both at abroad and at home

Seems to be like a whole lot of baloney to suspend him for any length of time.

ct swim fan
Reply to  mcgillrocks
5 years ago

I do not know the answer so I’m asking, are athletes even if of legal age, allowed to drink alcohol while on trips with the national team?

Sean Justice
Reply to  ct swim fan
5 years ago

When I swam, you were not suppose to drink while on a national team…at any age.

coacherik
Reply to  mcgillrocks
5 years ago

Well, aside from being pulled of the plain when trying to leave Rio before this all came down. They were on USA-Swimming’s watch and dime while in Rio, representing your country and making poor decisions. Behavioral expectations can be as strict as the NGB wants.

BarryA
Reply to  mcgillrocks
5 years ago

You’re missing something. We all are, and we probably always will be. All we know is what was made public, there’s definitely things USAS and USOC haven’t and won’t tell. But that’s between them and the swimmers being punished.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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