The 12-time Olympic medalist was asked which scenario would be “worse” in his eyes when stopped by a TMZ photographer at a Los Angeles airport Monday. “I think if the USOC says I can’t swim anymore, I think that would be the most hurtful just because I put so much time and effort into this sport,” Lochte said. “That would be heartbreaking.”
The 32-year-old American swimmer was dropped from three sponsors Monday as he continues to face the consequences for not being “more careful and candid” when he said he was robbed at gunpoint in Rio after a night of partying.
Speedo USA ended its sponsorship with Lochte, as did Polo Ralph Lauren and Syneron-Candela.
Lochte told TMZ that “it stinks” to lose Speedo, which was “great” to him. “They were like a second family throughout my swimming career, and I guess it’s a new chapter now,” he said.
Lochte didn’t say whether he would consider going to rehab or Alcoholics Anonymous after a night of drinking played a role in the international spectacle. “You know, um, I don’t know. I can’t answer that question right now,” he told TMZ. “Right now, I need to just see my family and talk with them about it, about what I’m going to do.”
The athlete also said that if he weren’t allowed to swim professionally ever again, he would help children. “I would definitely go and start working with kids, teaching them things that I’ve learned throughout my swimming career … because I have so much love and passion for the sport I just want to make it bigger.”