USA grabs gold, Rio police grab Lochte


Ryan Lochte after the men’s 4x200m race. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

During the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the USA swim team succeeded in representing the country with outstanding individual performances and record breaking accomplishments.

Both the men and women’s teams tallied 16 gold medals, eight silver medals and nine bronze medals. Spearheading the charge was Michael Phelps, as he became the most decorated Olympian in US history with five gold medals and one silver, accumulating a total of 28 medals throughout his career (23 gold, three silver and two bronze).

Katie Ledecky was an unstoppable force for the U.S. women’s swim team despite being just 19 years old. She walked away from the games with four gold medals and one silver. She also set a new world record in the 800-meter freestyle. Ledecky’s performance earned her the nickname “the female Michael Phelps.”

While both teams were striving for success, they’ve yet to be recognized for their efforts and accomplishments because of the actions of a single athlete, Ryan Lochte. Lochte claimed to have been held at gunpoint and robbed in a taxi by a fake police officer, but later changed his story to being robbed in a gas station. The sudden change in location and detail made Brazilian police suspicious of the claim, and further investigation proved the incident was a hoax.

Lochte found success in the games, with a gold medal in the men’s 4×200 meter freestyle, but his false allegations have painted him as a liar rather than a gold medal athlete. The disassociation of endorsements have begun to follow, with the loss of Speedo, Polo Ralph Lauren, Airweave and Gentle Hair Removal.

The loss of endorsements for Lochte is just the beginning of his descent, as public animosity toward the athlete has continued to rise. The lies of Lochte have disappointed his fans and teammates, and could make his Olympic return less likely.

While Lochte has begun his public apology, his statement of “over-exaggerating” his story has yet to appeal to the disappointed populace. The actions of Lochte have taken away from the overall success that Team USA found in the Olympics. Although it is bittersweet to see justice served, the lack of recognition given to outstanding athletes such as Ledecky and Phelps only proves that one person’s actions can ruin an entire team.

Jordan Jarrell can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @theorion_sports