Olympian Ryan Lochte Recalls Going From "Hero to Zero in a Blink of an Eye"

"In life, you're gonna get knocked down...But it's how you get up and keep moving forward," Ryan Lochte said about learning from his 2016 Rio Olympics scandal. "I got up."

By Alyssa Morin Dec 29, 2021 1:11 AMTags
Watch: Ryan Lochte Fails to Qualify for Upcoming Tokyo Olympics

Ryan Lochte is taking a deep dive into his past mistakes and revealing how they shaped him as a person. 

On Dec. 28, the Olympic swimmer reflected on his time at the 2016 Rio Olympics and the scandal that erupted, in which he admitted to lying about being robbed at gunpoint during the games, revealing that he "overexaggerated that story." At the time, the USA Swimming organization suspended him for 10 months and he lost more than $1 million in sponsorships and deals.

Ryan has since expressed remorse over his past actions and recently opened up about how he's learned from it.

"Those were the toughest moments of my life. I went from hero to zero in a blink of an eye," he told Adam Mendler on the Thirty Minute Mentors podcast. "And just like that, no matter what I've accomplished in the pool or out, it went all to waste in a matter of minutes. But I mean, I did it to myself. I have no one else to blame but me."

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The 37-year-old athlete said that "even though it was the hardest mistake, I learned from it," adding, "I got woken up."

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According to the New York native, his past mistake was the push he needed to become a better version of himself.

"I just started bettering myself every day," Ryan continued. "I was like, 'Man, I got to do my same things that I do for the swimming pool. I got to take it outside of the swimming pool now.' So, I started working on myself, I met my wife, we have two beautiful kids. Everything that happens in life, you have to just learn from it—the goods, the bads."

The swimming champion also shared the "biggest lesson" he learned from the 2016 Rio Olympics scandal, saying, "In life, you're gonna get knocked down...But it's how you get up and keep moving forward. That's what's really going to determine who you are. I found that. I got up."

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Ryan also took a moment to praise his wife of three years, Kayla Rae Reid. The couple shares two kids together: Caiden Zane, 4, and Liv Rae, 2.

"She seriously is my rock," he gushed. "She's helped me through everything, through the thick and thin. And she went through it with me."

Ryan called Kayla a "guardian angel that motivated me," explaining that she lifted him up during his lowest moments and told him, "Hey, keep going, keep going, keep fighting, you're better than this, you're better than this."

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