Ryan Lochte feels like he ‘let everyone down’ by missing Olympics

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Ryan Lochte wanted so badly to return to the Olympics this year, wanted to leave a different lasting impression after his scandalous 2016 Games in Brazil.

But his Olympic dream fell short Friday night. In his final chance, the 36-year-old finished seventh in the 200-meter individual medley at the US Olympic trials in Omaha, missing out on a fifth Olympics appearance at this summer’s games in Tokyo.

“I wanted to prove so much to everyone,” an emotional Lochte told reporters afterward, using a tissue at one point to wipe away tears.

During the 2016 Games in Rio, Lochte and three other US swimmers were found to have vandalized a gas station bathroom after they lied about being held up in a robbery. Lochte was suspended by USA Swimming and the US Olympic Committee for 10 months after the incident. He also received a 14-month suspension in 2018 for using an IV to get vitamins.

Ryan Lochte Olympics
Ryan Lochte reacts after failing to qualify for the Olympics in the 200-meter individual medley on June 18, 2021.
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“I think this is probably my most important swim meet that I’ve ever had in my entire career, the one that meant the most to me,” Lochte said Friday. “So falling short and feeling like I let everyone down was one of the hardest things.”

Ryan Lochte Olympics
An emotional Ryan Lochte speaks after failing to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics on June 18, 2021.
Getty Images

Though this feels like the end of Lochte’s competitive career, he insists he’s not done yet.

“I’ll quit swimming when I stop having fun,” he said. “I love this sport. It’s gotten me to places that people dream about. So I’m very grateful for that. I’m still having fun. I’m finding different ways making swimming fun again. I still want to race.”

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