Ryan Lochte is seeking treatment for alcohol addiction and will enter a rehab program “immediately.”
“Ryan has been battling from alcohol addiction for many years and unfortunately, it has become a destructive pattern for him,” a representative for the swimmer and Olympic medalist confirms to Yahoo Entertainment in a statement. “He has acknowledged that he needs professional assistance to overcome his problem and will be getting help immediately.”
The statement continues, “Ryan knows that conquering this disease now is a must for him to avoid making future poor decisions, to be the best husband and father he can be, and if he wants to achieve his goal to return to dominance in the pool in his fifth Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.”
Lochte is seeking help after an incident that occurred at a hotel in Newport Beach, Calif., early Thursday morning. TMZ reports the Olympic athlete tried to kick in the door of his hotel room after a boozy night. Police were called, but no arrests were made as he made arrangements with the hotel to replace the damaged door. A source described the incident to Yahoo as “nothing.”
“What’s important is that Ryan’s getting help,” says the insider.
It’s not the first alcohol-related incident for which Lochte has made headlines in recent years. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, he falsified a story about being robbed and held at gunpoint, when he and three other swimmers were returning to the Olympic Village after a night of partying. It was later revealed they were the ones who vandalized a gas station. The embarrassing scandal played out on the world’s stage. He was given a 10-month suspension by USA Swimming.
“After Rio, I was probably the most hated person in the world,” Lochte reflected to ESPN in 2017. “There were a couple of points where I was crying, thinking, ‘If I go to bed and never wake up, fine.’” Asked if that meant he had considered suicide, Lochte nodded, saying, “I was about to hang up my entire life.”
Lochte said he found purpose in life with his then-fiancée, now wife, Kayla Rae Reid. They welcomed a son in June 2017, and he returned to the pool that year at the U.S. Open, vowing to learn from his mistakes.
This summer, he was handed a 14-month suspension by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency — all over a picture he posted on social media that showed him getting a recreational IV. The USADA said the shot was of Lochte getting “an intravenous infusion of permitted substances at an infusion clinic in a volume greater than 100 mL in a 12-hour period without a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).” He did not have the exemption.
Clearly, Lochte is still looking ahead to 2020.
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