United States swimmer Ryan Lochte will be out of action for 10 months as he has been suspended over his false account of a gas station robbery in Brazil during 2016 Rio Olympics, according to USA Today.
The six-time Olympic Gold medallist will also miss a championship meet to be held in Budapest in June 2017. The suspension was handed by the International Olympic Committee, United States Olympic Committee and USA Swimming.
Lochte had said he and his teammates Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, who have also been slapped with suspensions, were robbed and held at gunpoint at a gas station in Rio de Janeiro in August 2016 after the end of Olympic swimming competition. The news caused major embarrassment to the host nation, which had also struggled with issues at the Games Village.
However, the Brazilian authorities refuted the American swimmer's claim saying Lochte and the other three swimmers had vandalised the gas station after a drunk night out in the capital city. The 32-year-old left for his country before he was charged by the authorities. However, Congar and Bentz, who were detained at the Rio de Janeiro airport and questioned over the incident, confirmed that their claims were fabricated.
Lochte then conceded that he had over exaggerated the incident and said he did not know why he did so in an interview with NBC. The decorated Olympian's major sponsors snapped ties with him but he maintained that he would continue to swim for the next four years regardless of the length of the ban.
In an Instagram post, Lochte had apologised for his act and said the situation could have been avoided if he had been more responsible.
"Regardless of the behavior of anyone else that night, I should have been much more responsible in how I handled myself and for that am sorry.
''This was a situation that could and should have been avoided. I accept responsibility for my role in this happening and have learned some valuable lessons,'' he wrote.