Phelps warned Lochte before incident in Rio
Olympic standout told his teammate to ‘just keep your head on straight’
CHASKA, MINN. — Add Michael Phelps’ name to the list of Americans who were less than amused by teammate Ryan Lochte’s post-competition, early-morning drunken antics at the Rio Olympics.
“I did have a talk with him about two days before about not doing anything bad,” said Phelps, who grew up in Rodgers Forge and retired after the Summer Games as the most decorated Olympian of all time. “I told him: ‘Just keep your head on straight. Have fun.’ ” Apparently, the warning didn’t take. Lochte and three teammates got into a scrape with a security guard at a gas station in Rio de Janeiro after a night of partying. He originally said he and teammates Jack Conger of Rockville, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen were threatened and robbed at gunpoint but was later charged in Brazil with filing a false police report.
Lochte, 32, whose 12 medals, including six gold, make him the second-most decorated Olympic swimmer, was banned from competition for 10 months — including a chance to qualify for next summer’s world championships — by the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Swim- ming.
He also forfeited $100,000 in medal bonuses, was dropped from the Olympic team’s White House visit and was ordered to perform 20 hours of community service. His three teammates were given four-month bans and dropped from the White House visit.
Despite losing a number of sponsorship deals as well, Lochte hasn’t lowered his public profile. He is competing this season on “Dancing with the Stars,” where two protesters rushed the stage during a taping of the show in Los Angeles two weeks ago. Lochte had just performed a fox trot with professional partner Cheryl Burke to “Call Me Irresponsible” and appeared briefly shaken.
The two men were quickly tackled by security guards and arrested on suspicion of trespassing. They later said their purpose was “to get the message out that Lochte is a coward, a liar and under Brazilian law, a criminal.”
Lochte posted on Instagram the day after the show aired, thanking “everyone on the show, including my partner Cheryl, my fellow competitors, the producers, the security team and its fans.”
Phelps won five gold medals and a silver in Rio, bringing his career totals to 23 golds and 28 medals. He was in Minnesota getting a behind-the-scenes look at Ryder Cup preparations ahead of this weekend’s matches. The avid golfer was scheduled to play in Tuesday’s celebrity tournament and is also making appearances on behalf of his sponsor, Omega.