Ryan Lochte Tells Alex Rodriguez’s Back in the Game How Rio 2016 ‘Mistake Changed My Entire Life”

Ryan Lochte at US Nationals. Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

Four-time US Olympian Ryan Lochte appeared on Alex Rodriguez’s show Back in the Game on Wednesday to discuss his ongoing struggle with his fallout from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Lochte, 35, lost all of his sponsorships after he filed a false police report in Rio claiming that he and three other teammates were robbed at gunpoint. He was suspended for ten months from the incident, making a brief comeback at the 2017 US Open.

Lochte was suspended a second time in 2018 by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for receiving an unapproved IV-transplant. He was held out of US Nationals that year, losing his chance at qualifying for the 2018 Pan Pacs, 2019 Pan American Games, and the 2019 World Championships. Additionally, Lochte lost an opportunity to swim in the first ever International Swimming League because of the league’s zero tolerance policy with athletes that have served doping suspensions.

“One mistake changed my entire life,” Lochte told Rodriguez in the show. “I went from hero to zero. I’m just trying to fight my way back to the top again.”

Lochte has since signed with TYR, who has given him a second chance after he was dropped by Speedo and numerous other companies after the Rio incident. He now has two children and has been married for over a year to Kayla Rae Lochte. But the TYR sponsorship is not enough to financially sustain Lochte, who admitted to earning over a million dollars in his career from sponsorships. However, he noted that his TYR salary would be performance-based and since he was suspended, he couldn’t earn the money.

Since he is the soul provider for his family, Ryan Lochte was living his life paycheck to paycheck. With the help of Rodriguez, Lochte was going to get “back in the game” so he could financially support his family and shift the public’s opinion on him as he chases a berth on his fifth Olympic team next summer in Tokyo.

In the show, Ryan Lochte takes Rodriguez and the camera crew into his new Gainesville apartment where he was forced to downsize because he couldn’t afford to live in his old house. He had a sit-down with Rodriguez where they went over his expenses, which Rodriguez said he couldn’t live that way forever saying he needed to find a solution so he wouldn’t go bankrupt. One of the first solutions was that Lochte get rid of one of his cars, which he admits later in the episode in turning in his Porsche, freeing him of about $900 worth of monthly car payments.

In an emotional moment in the episode, Lochte called up some of those closest to him to apologize for his past behavior. He at first tried calling long-time rival Michael Phelps, who initially did not pick up but called him back later off-camera. Lochte decided to call up former USA Swimming National Team Director Frank Busch to personally apologize for his behavior in Rio, to which Busch said he was Ryan’s “biggest fan” and thanked him for reaching out.

At the end of the episode, Rodriguez and Lochte travelled to the former baseball player’s home in Miami to help Lochte set up meetings with new sponsorships to help endorse him leading into 2020.

This special was filmed last summer, explaining why Lochte says he was still suspended and was 34 (he turned 35 in August).

Since returning from suspension, Lochte has won a National title in the 200 IM, his 1:57.76 effort moving him up to 12th in the world and fourth in the United States in 2019. He still holds the world record at 1:54.00 and with more confidence, financial stability, and a more mature lifestyle, he looks like a man capable of getting down to the 1:56 zone that would give him a great chance to make his fifth Olympic team.


  1. avatar

    As always, I wish him the best of luck. He has made a lot of poor choices, but none with ill-will or malicious intent. I cannot begin to imagine what life would be like having all of one’s mistakes highlighted in headlines.

    He unquestionably has many gifts and talents. I hope he has matured and has people in his life who will help direct him and keep him grounded. It sounds like he’s on his way back up. It’s definitely harder to rise to the top after having plummeted to the bottom. I hope he reaches the summit.

  2. avatar

    After watching the show I am not convinced he was really apologizing about the incident, or that he was simply sorry that it cost him his sponsorships and lifestlye. To the “real” world” (those of us that buy the sponsored merchandise) I am not sure how bad (at least I) feel about them having to downsize to a sub 2000sf apartment. It also seems that his wife was a bit too good to drive a Mazda. Hey Ales, how about doing an episode or several about real people who need a bit of a hand to get back into the game? (But you would not be able to say “he’ll be a millionaired in less than x years”). That really conncects to the real world….

  3. avatar

    I always believe everybody need a second chance in life to redeem and make it good for the best,Alex you are an angel keep up the good work