Ryan Lochte: US swimmer says he contemplated suicide after Rio

Ryan Lochte
Lochte's Olympic medal count puts him second all time among US swimmers behind Michael Phelps

American Swimmer Ryan Lochte says he had suicidal thoughts amid the fallout from his behaviour at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

The 32-year-old falsely claimed he was robbed at gunpoint during the Games and was banned for 10 months in September.

"After Rio, I was probably the most hated person in the world," the six-time Olympic gold medallist told ESPN.

"There were a couple of points where I was crying, thinking, 'If I go to bed and never wake up, fine.'"

Asked whether that meant he considered suicide, Lochte nodded, adding: "I was about to hang up my entire life."

Lochte, who has won 12 Olympic medals, is one of the most successful swimmers in history. He won gold at Rio 2016 in the 4x200m freestyle relay alongside team-mates Conor Dwyer, Townley Haas, and Michael Phelps.

But his actions following the final races in the pool provoked harsh criticism.

"You can be at the all-time high and then the next second the all-time low," he said. "I love being at the Olympics, but I'm the opposite of what you'd expect.

"It's been that way my whole life. I don't fit in."

'I've found a new purpose'

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Footage was released purportedly showing four US swimmers at a petrol station in Rio

While in Rio, Lochte said he and three team-mates were held up at a petrol station during a night out.

Police questioned the account after CCTV footage showed the group had vandalised the petrol station and Lochte later admitted he had "over-exaggerated" his story.

Lochte - who is expecting a baby with his fiancee - said he is now positive about the future and has shifted his focus to qualifying for the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

"Everything happens for a reason," said Lochte, whose ban expires after next month's World Championships in Hungary.

"I was done with swimming back in 2013. I was drained, wiped out. Now I've found a new purpose with my son. This fire has been ignited, and it's bigger than ever.

"I'm just so excited because I know what's going to happen in Tokyo. Everyone is going to have to watch out."

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