"After Rio, I was probably the most hated person in the world," Ryan Lochte said.
U.S. Olympian Ryan Lochte told ESPN this week he had suicidal thoughts after his behavior resulted in harsh criticism from around the world during the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, but later denied the report to TMZ when asked.
“To be clear, yes I was in a very dark place after Rio, but I never thought about taking my own life,” he clarified.
Police in Rio de Janeiro launched an investigation after Lochte and three Olympic teammates said that they were held up at gunpoint at a gas station after a night out. Camera footage later showed that Lochte and the three swimmers vandalized the gas station. Lochte later admitted to exaggerating his account.
"After Rio, I was probably the most hated person in the world," Lochte originally said to ESPN. "There were a couple of points where I was crying, thinking, 'If I go to bed and never wake up, fine.'"
ESPN wrote that Lochte nodded when asked whether that meant suicide, and added, "I was about to hang up my entire life."
Lochte remains suspended through June 30th as part of his 10-month suspension by USA Swimming from all domestic and international competitions. He did compete at the U.S. Masters Swimming Spring Nationals in April because the age-division meet is held by a different governing body.
Lochte also told ESPN that he has found a new purpose in swimming and hopes to compete at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo despite being 36 years old. He has 12 Olympic medals.