Ryan Lochte has spent the last few days trying to cover his behind after being caught fabricating a story about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro. Now he’ll have to continue on that mission without a Speedo.
The swimwear company announced on Monday that it was severing its longtime sponsorship of the gold-winning Olympian.
“While we have enjoyed a winning relationship with Ryan for over a decade and he has been an important member of the Speedo team, we cannot condone behavior that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for,” the company shared on Twitter. “We appreciate his many achievements and hope he moves forward and learns from this experience.” Speedo also noted that it was donating a $50,000 portion of Lochte’s fee to a charity designed to help children in Brazil.
Last week, Lochte claimed he and some fellow American swimmers had been held up at a gun point at a gas station in Rio during the Summer Olympics. But that story unraveled when security footage from the gas station was released and Lochte’s teammates offered apologies; Brazilian police said that the swimmers were intoxicated and vandalized a bathroom, leading to a confrontation with armed security guards. In an interview with Matt Lauer that aired Sunday night during NBC’s Olympics coverage and on Monday’s edition of Today, Lochte said, “I’m taking full responsibility for it. It’s because I over-exaggerated that story, and if I’d never done that, we wouldn’t be in this mess.”
The International Olympic Committee has formed a disciplinary commission to investigate the event, and Lochte and his fellow swimmers — Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz, and Jack Conger — will face receive additional penalties from the United States Olympic Committee. “They let down our athletes,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said. “They let down Americans.”