Suspensions for Lochte, Feigen, Bentz and Conger Announced

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USA Swimming and the United States Olympic Committee have announced that sanctions will be placed on Ryan LochteJimmy FeigenGunnar Bentz and Jack Conger for their actions after the conclusion of the swimming competition at the Rio Olympic Games.

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.

The statement also included quotes from high-ranking officials with both the USOC and USA Swimming.

“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.”

Bentz is currently enrolled at the University of Georgia, where he is a junior, and Conger is a senior at the University of Texas. Their eligibility for NCAA meets during this suspension period is currently unknown. Swimming World will work to confirm those details.

UPDATE: FINA has released a statement saying they support the sanctions applied and will not punish the four swimmers further.

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.

On August 14th Lochte came forward to the media stating that he and three other teammates had been robbed at gunpoint while on their way back to the Olympic Village in the wee hours of the morning. In an interview with NBC’s Billy Bush Lochte stated that,

“We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over,” Lochte said. “They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground — they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn’t do anything wrong, so — I’m not getting down on the ground. And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, ‘Get down,’ and I put my hands up, I was like ‘whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet — he left my cell phone, he left my credentials.”

Lochte’s interview with Bush confirmed that Feigen, Bentz and Conger were all present at the alleged robbery.

The situation escalated after a police report filed on the incident was questioned on whether or not the incident occurred in the way that the swimmers described. Video footage from the gas station emerged, which conflicted numerous details with the accounts that Lochte and Feigen had given.

While Lochte flew back to the United States almost right after the incident, his teammates were detained in Rio for further questioning.

5 Comments

5 comments

  1. avatar
    darlene johnson

    While the incident happened after the swimming events had finished, I didn’t see how it took away from the other athletes. Bolt, Ledecky, Phelps, the track stars, and other fine athletes managed to get their share of the limelight. If NBC wasn’t so busy showing the Brazillian butt waxing, the fruity drinks, the frolicking of the NBC crew, and giving free advertisement to the area’s tourism, we might have been able to see more coverage of some of the other sporting events- which weren’t shown in prime time or on the regular network channel. The whole incident was unfortunate for the sports world and American Swimming; however, the mistake was made and now the four are paying for their participation. Please remember that they have given years of training and sacrifice to the sport and were chosen for their athleticism. A lapse of judegment is something we are all privy to at one time or another.

  2. avatar
    Tony

    Funny, how with hindsight you see the clues that you ignored as just being ‘silly at the time as Gavin De Becker explained in ‘The gift of fear’.
    I remember thinking when I first read Lochte’s ‘statement’, ‘we didn’t do anything wrong’?
    What an odd thing to say!
    Does he imagine that only people who’ve done something wrong get mugged?
    Now of course it makes perfect sense.
    He really didn’t think he had done anything wrong and let the truth slip out even at that early stage

  3. avatar
    Rick V

    Other media sources have stated that the loss of gold medal funding will cost Lochte $100,000.
    If true I feel this is excessive, especially in light of the huge endorsement losses he has already suffered. The USOC and USA Swimming are just piling on. He won the medal before the incident. Give him his money.

    • avatar
      Lee Ann

      He still has the gold. He just forfeited the bonus that comes with winning that gold medal. They did not take the gold medal away from him.

  4. avatar

    I’m giving a pass to Lochte for his botched asscovering. I do not remember him previously causing any trouble for anyone. Also, for a supremely elite swimmer, I haven’t noticed his ego and regardless of the situation, he has a reliably pleasant attitude. In short, he’s been too otherwise likable to not look over this. Getting drunk is an exercise of stupidity, but that hasn’t stopped millions.

Author: Taylor Brien

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Taylor Brien is the Circulation and Operations Manager at Swimming World. A native of Bettendorf, IA and a 2015 graduate of Illinois College, she has covered a variety of events since joining the SW team in 2015, including the NCAA Championships, World Championships, Olympic Trials, and 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

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