Lochte Scandal Overshadows 2016 Olympics

Amanda Kaczorowski, Staff Writer

Every four years, the Olympics mark a time in which all athletes are united under the spirit of competition. More than two-hundred member countries of the International Olympic Committee competed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in the hopes of showing their dominance in many prestigious pastimes. Despite its joyful, celebratory focus, the crime of Ryan Lochte, a successful American swimmer, threw a shadow over all of the festivities.

According to Matt Pressberg of thewrap.com, on the night of the incident, Lochte and three other swimmers left a club, and headed to the Olympic Village. On their way to the Village, they stopped at a gas station, ten minutes away from their intended destination, in order to use the restroom. As they were about to leave the gas station, they were stopped by an unidentified man, holding a black object. Later, it was reported by Fox News that Lochte and the other swimmers had been held and robbed at gunpoint while at the gas station.

However, it was later revealed that this story was not true, and that Lochte, was the culprit, as he had vandalized the gas station’s bathroom. Generally, the public reacted in discontent as a result of these actions. However, it can be argued that the governments of both countries involved in the case could’ve done more in order to make a prime example of Ryan Lochte, his accomplices, and their crime.

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) released a formal statement to the government of Brazil, expressing their apologies as well as their discontent with the actions of the athletes. Additionally, the USOC suspended Ryan Lochte for ten months, but there has been no word of any type of sentencing from the United States government. This gives the impression that the United States believes that the ridicule Lochte has and will face, as well as the detrimental effects on his career, will be punishment enough.

The Brazilian people and police, on the other hand, have a different viewpoint on the situation. On August 25th, the Brazilian police asked prosecutors to file charges regarding a false testimony against Lochte. The police on the scene found the vandalism and security camera footage showing the events of that fateful night. They believe that Lochte should receive sentencing, around eighteen months based on their request, for his crime. However, the investigation of the validity of both accounts, in terms of Ryan Lochte and Law Enforcement, are still underway.

Despite the fact that Ryan Lochte’s career did suffer following the incidents that occurred, some argue that the governments did not do enough to ensure that an incident such as this would not occur again.

When Olympic athletes arrive in the country of competition, it is expected for them to accurately represent the values of their nation. In fact, Micheal Phelps  stated a week ago that he warned Lochte to be careful while in Rio.