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Ryan Lochte Considered Suicide After the Scandal at the Rio Olympics

Dr. Elizabeth Yuko is the Health Editor at SheKnows. She is a bioethicist and writer specializing in sexual and reproductive health and the intersection of bioethics and popular culture. She is an adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham ...

12-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte opens up about being suicidal after Rio

If you remember one thing about the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, it probably involves swimmer Ryan Lochte and the scandal surrounding vandalizing a gas station and then lying about it. Almost a year later, Lochte is now speaking out about that time in his life — specifically that he considered suicide.

In an interview with ESPN’s Allison Glock, the 12-time medalist opened up about his mental health struggles, saying that he was “about to hang up [his] entire life.”

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“After Rio, I was probably the most hated person in the world,” he told Glock. “There were a couple of points where I was crying, thinking, ‘If I go to bed and never wake up, fine.’” When she asked if that meant that he considered suicide, Lochte nodded.

As a result of his behavior in Rio — where he lied about being robbed at gunpoint — Lochte was suspended from competing for 10 months, lost millions of dollars’ worth of sponsorships and received death threats. Though public opinion quickly turned against him, the International Olympic Committee made excuses for his behavior, referring to the then-32-year-old and his teammates as “kids [who] just came here to have fun.” He became the face of white male privilege.

MoreTalking About Depression Is Good — Investing in Mental Health Is Better

Following a few public apologies for his “immature behavior,” Lochte took the traditional celeb-looking-for-a-comeback route and appeared on Dancing with the Stars. Ultimately, his year ended on a positive note — getting engaged and announcing that he and his fiancée are expecting their first child.

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If you're worried about yourself or a loved one, call the National Suicide Prevention lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).

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