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America’s Worst Champion

Ryan Lochte lied.

All of the Olympic medals in the world won’t change that fact.

He first lied to his mom, who then told the world what he had said, and then he lied to the world.

He is not an American champion. He is an American chump.

His actions forced USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus to offer this apology, “We do not condone the lapse in judgement and conduct that led us to this point. It is not representative of what is expected as Olympians, as Americans, as swimmers and as individuals.”

Make no mistake. The 32 year old Lochte set into motion what his younger colleagues Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen had to defend.

  • Being pulled over in a taxi never happened.
  • Heroically resisting robbers with a gun pressed to his head never happened.
  • Being highly intoxicated after a night of drinking never mentioned.
  • Breaking property at a gas station never mentioned.
  • Urinating on the wall outside a bathroom never mentioned.

Some mentor.

Lochte is so used to getting his way that he played into the very real fear of Brazilian police ineffectualness and corruption. When covering up his own night of drinking and vandalism, he blatantly went on international television and blamed others, exploiting prejudice and fear.

While Michael Phelps, Simone Biles and Ashton Eaton have come to represent the growth and maturity of true American champions, Lochte still insists he’ll try out for the 2020 Tokyo games.

After the damage he’s caused to his teammates, let’s hope the American Olympic Committee stops that from ever happening.

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About Jim Heath

Jim Heath is the author of the new best seller Front Row Seat at the Circus - One Journalist's Journey through Two Presidential Elections. The book is about Jim's experiences covering the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns - from South Carolina, the first southern primary state, to Ohio, the ultimate battleground state in presidential elections. A recipient of the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism, Jim is also a two-time Emmy award winner with more than 15 years experience as both a main evening anchor and political reporter. A longtime advocate of social media, GQ Magazine listed Jim on their Top 5 political "Power List" and the Washington Post named him to their "Best Super Tuesday Twitter List." Jim's news career has taken him from Arizona to South Carolina to Ohio.

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