Owning The Truth: How Ryan Lochte Is Redeeming Himself

“In Deep with Ryan Lochte” showcases the four time Olympian’s quest to make ammends and reconciliation as he trains for a spot on the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The returning hopeful, reflects on why his return is so important while highlighting the “athlebrity” aspects of his fame, and his notorious night in Rio during 2016.

What if the last thing people remember about you is the worst mistake of your life?

     That’s a heavy thought, isn’t it? Well, it is a realistic statement that four-time Olympic swimmer, Ryan Lochte, knows all too well. In fact, his recent sports documentary, In Deep with Ryan Lochte, shares his well-publicized fall from grace, and his road to redemption as he trains to earn a spot on Team USA for the 2021 Summer Olympics. But first, he has some major damage control to take care of.


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     Before we get into the backstory of Ryan Lochte, it is important to learn from other people’s mistakes. And Ryan is coming clean with hopes he can encourage others to do the same by owning their mistakes and rectifying their past behavior. When someone lies to you or embellishes the truth, years of trust crumbles to the ground being tossed around like a house of cards sent flying during a tornado. Trust is something that takes many small moments over years to build, and only one sentence (or a few seconds,) to destroy. But the truth always comes out, and the repercussions do not end there. All respect is gone, and that betrayal of trust always lingers like a smokey haze no matter how much forgiveness you throw at those actions. Secrets and lies will destroy lives and even the strongest relationships. 


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      But can redemption ever be found? Can someone ever be respected again? The answer? Yes. I never believed that before I watched Ryan Lochte’s story which I highly recommend whether you are a swimmer or not. Did you know that there is only one athlete that has more Olympic medals than Ryan Lochte, and that happens to be his fellow Team USA teammate and friend?  Yep, Ryan Lochte’s #1 rival in the water, and fiercest competitor, also known as the greatest Olympian of all time, and 28-time medal recipient, swimmer, Michael Phelps. Sadly, you probably didn’t know that unless you are an uber-Olympics fan. This is all because Lochte screwed everything up for himself on his last night in Rio at the 2016 Summer Olympics. You can bet your Speedo that it is a night he will never forget. And one that changed his life forever, virtually erasing every proud championship moment of his entire career.

But now Lochte is back to own his mistake and redeem himself.

Let’s Recap…

     Rewind to 2016 at the Rio Olympics, an intoxicated Ryan Lochte was with some fellow Team USA swimmers recklessly decide on the last night of the Olympics to celebrate the historic event at a nightclub. It would also be the night his legacy would forever be altered. After a night out at the club, the drunk teammates were held at gunpoint by a security guard at a gas station for allegedly ransacking a public men’s room. When the press got wind of the story it quickly became front-page news across the globe. Now, remember this is right about the time Brazil was trying to clear its name due to the country being known for violent crimes involving tourists.  This made the Brazilian authorities hungry for the truth, and they jumped all over this case immediately. But soon the world would come to find out that the story was highly glamorized by Lochte himself causing a huge media stir. Lochte conveniently neglected to include the active role he and his teammates played while hyping up how they were held at gunpoint coming home in a taxi from the training house. After the incident, Lochte told journalist, Billy Bush, they were accosted by men impersonating law enforcement and demanded payment for their release. Why Ryan embellished the story or chose not to set the record straight immediately, was never addressed in the interview. 


Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps in Water at Rio Olympics
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports

     In an instant, Ryan was no longer the beloved Olympic star he once was just a few weeks prior. His credibility was gone. He soon went from “Olympian Ryan Lochte,” to “Liar, Liar,  Ryan Lochte,” and “Storyteller, Ryan Lochte,” but the worst? “The most hated man in the world: Ryan Lochte.” Soon afterward, he lost millions upon millions of dollars in sponsorships and endorsements. He proceeded to go into hiding, living his life on the down-low with his loved ones.

     It took losing everything for Ryan Lochte to learn how powerful deceit is, and it is never too late to apologize, make amends, and seek forgiveness. Will the world accept him again? I am not sure, but I will. Forgiveness is just as powerful as deceit, but it is positive. The truth will set you free, but so will forgiving those who show by their words and actions proving that they truly care. Earning this type of respect back is not easy, and I admire Lochte for not only doing this, but doing it publicly because that respect and forgiveness cannot be achieved overnight. This documentary made me think, “What kind of person would I be if I didn’t give someone who genuinely apologized, and backed that apology with sincere actions, a second chance?” I know I would want one if I were in his shoes. And isn’t forgiveness something we are taught to do from an early age anyway? People mess up, it is a part of life, life is messy. You can either hold onto anger and carry it with you, or embrace forgiveness and move forward. Sounds like an easy decision to me. 


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     In Deep with Ryan Lochte further goes behind-the-scenes into the everyday life of the once, bottled bleach blonde bad boy of swimming, and Vogue cover model. If I am being honest, his new perspective on life is very relatable and inspiring. The documentary shines a big spotlight on him owning how much he messed up and hurt others, all while apologizing to his family, friends, fans, and teammates. Most importantly, Ryan Lochte is owning his mistake and working to improve himself however he can in hopes of being the best dad and making his fifth Olympic team as the oldest swimmer to compete in his events. If he does, his story will not end in tragedy, but one of hope that we will share for years to come.

In Deep with Ryan Lochte is now available to stream on Peacock Television.