Olympics

Ryan Lochte dropped by 4 sponsors after Rio incident

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AP

Ryan Lochte dropped by 4 sponsors after Rio incident

Less than 24 hours after the close of the Rio Olympics, Ryan Lochte took a major financial hit Monday for a drunken incident he initially tried to pass off as an armed robbery.

In quick succession, four sponsors announced they were dumping the swimmer, who has since apologized and conceded that he embellished what happened during a now-infamous stop at a Rio gas station.

Swimsuit company Speedo USA, clothing giant Ralph Lauren and skin-care firm Syneron-Candela issued statements less than three hours apart, all with the same message: Lochte is out. Before the day was done, Japanese mattress maker airweave followed suit, essentially wiping out Lochte's income away from the pool.

In addition, Speedo USA said $50,000 that would've gone to the 12-time Olympic medalist was being donated to Save The Children to benefit needy youngsters in Brazil.

"While we have enjoyed a winning relationship with Ryan for over a decade and he has been an important member of the Speedo team, we cannot condone behavior that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for," the prominent swimsuit company said. "We appreciate his many achievements and hope he moves forward and learns from this experience."

Ralph Lauren, which provided the Polo-branded attire worn by the U.S. team at the opening and closing ceremonies, said it would not be renewing the contract that provided Lochte with financial support leading up to Rio. The statement from airweave said it had a similar arrangement with the swimmer. Both stressed they would continue their support of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams.

Syneron-Candela offers a line of skin-treatment products that deal with issues such as wrinkle reduction.

"We hold our employees to high standards, and we expect the same of our business partners," the company said.

Lochte issued a statement through his public relations firm thanking Speedo USA for its long support. He did not immediately address the other companies dropping their endorsements.

"I respect Speedo's decision and am grateful for the opportunities that our partnership has afforded me over the years," Lochte said.

Initially, Lochte said he and three teammates -- Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen -- were robbed after their taxi was pulled over by armed men posing as police just hours after the swimming competition ended in Rio de Janeiro.

That version quickly unraveled when police said the swimmers, who had attended a late-night party, never reported the incident to authorities and there was scant evidence of a robbery. Video surveillance emerged showing the athletes getting into a confrontation with armed security guards over alleged vandalism at the gas station when their taxi pulled over to let them use the restroom.

While there have been conflicting versions over whether the guards pulled their weapons on the swimmers, Lochte has since acknowledged he was highly intoxicated and that his behavior led to the confrontation, which resulted in the swimmers paying some $50 in U.S. and Brazilian currency before they were allowed to leave. The incident caused a furor in Rio, where street crime was a major issue heading into the games.

Paul Swangard, managing director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon, said he wasn't surprised by the decision since most of Lochte's marketing value was tied to campaigns prior to the Olympics.

"I would think it was an easy decision to cut ties now," Swangard said. "For someone like Lochte, he's really destroyed almost all of his short-term marketability. Brands can easily seek out other athletes for the next Olympic cycle."

The financial costs of losing Speedo and Ralph Lauren are likely to be only the first sanctions that await Lochte, whose antics tarnished a powerful showing by the American team and dominating news away from the stadiums and arenas in the final days of the Rio Games.

Both the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Swimming have indicated that Lochte will be punished, perhaps endangering the 32-year-old's hopes of competing in a fifth Olympics at Tokyo in 2020. He could also face criminal charges in Brazil, where the other swimmers were initially barred from leaving the country until they were interviewed by authorities.

Feigen wound up donating just under $11,000 to a Brazilian nonprofit sports organization to settle any potential legal action. Bentz issued a statement saying Lochte tore a sign off a wall at the gas station and got into a heated exchange with the security officers, though Bentz denied the swimmers did any damage to a locked bathroom as authorities alleged.

In the last of three interviews with NBC that included ever-changing accounts of the incident, Lochte apologized and acknowledged he "over-exaggerated the story." He made a similar mea culpa to Brazil's main broadcaster, Globo.

Long one of the most popular U.S. athletes, the laid-back swimmer is known for his trademark saying "Jeah!" and such antics as wearing diamond grillz on the medal stand and dying his hair a silvery color before the Rio Games. Lochte also starred in a short-lived reality television show after the 2012 Olympics.

For these games, he qualified in only one individual event, finishing fifth in the 200-meter individual medley, far behind longtime rival Michael Phelps. Lochte did help Phelps and the Americans win gold in the 4x200 freestyle relay.

AP business writers Mae Anderson and Candice Choi in New York and editor Amy Finkelstein in Chicago contributed to this report.

Los Angeles reaches deal with Olympic leaders for 2028 Games

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USA Today Images

Los Angeles reaches deal with Olympic leaders for 2028 Games

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles has reached an agreement with international Olympic leaders that will open the way for the city to host the 2028 Summer Games.

City Council President Herb Wesson's office confirmed the deal Monday.

Spokeswoman Caolinn Mejza says the pact is expected to be reviewed by the council later this week.

The agreement to be formally announced later Monday follows a vote earlier this month by the International Olympic Committee to seek a deal to award the 2024 and 2028 Games.

Paris is the only city left to host the 2024 Games.

The arrangement would make L.A. a three-time Olympic city, after hosting the 1932 and 1984 Games.

L.A. and Paris were the last two bids remaining after a tumultuous process that exposed the unwillingness of cities to bear the financial burden of hosting an event that has become synonymous with cost overruns.

L.A. was not even the first American entrant in the contest. Boston withdrew two years ago as public support for its bid collapsed over concerns about use of taxpayer cash. The U.S. bid switched from the east to the West Coast as L.A. entered the race.

But the same apprehensions that spooked politicians and the local population in Boston soon became evident in Europe where three cities pulled out.

Uncomfortably for IOC President Thomas Bach, whose much-vaunted Agenda 2020 reforms were designed to make hosting more streamlined and less costly after the lavish 2014 Sochi Games, the first withdrawal came from his homeland of Germany.

The lack of political unity for a bid in Hamburg was mirrored in Rome and Budapest as support for bids waned among local authorities and the population. It was clear they did not want to be saddled with skyrocketing bills for hosting the Olympics without reaping many of the economic benefits anticipated.

Just like in the depleted field for the 2022 Winter Games which saw Beijing defeat Almaty, the IOC was left with only two candidates again.

With two powerful cities left vying for 2024, Bach realized France or the U.S. could be deterred from going through another contest for 2028 if they lost. Bach floated the idea in December of making revisions to the bidding process to prevent it producing "too many losers," building support that led to L.A. and Paris being able to figure out themselves how to share the 2024 and 2028 Games.

The dual award of the games relieves the IOC of having to test the global interest in hosting the Summer Olympics for several years until the 2032 Games are up for grabs.

Ryan Lochte rushed by 2 men on 'Dancing With the Stars' stage

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AP

Ryan Lochte rushed by 2 men on 'Dancing With the Stars' stage

LOS ANGELES -- Ryan Lochte says he feels "a little hurt" after two men were arrested for allegedly rushing the stage following his performance on "Dancing with the Stars."

The two men, wearing anti-Lochte T-shirts, were arrested on suspicion of criminal trespassing, Los Angeles police spokesman Officer Mike Lopez said.

They had rushed the stage while Lochte was getting his scores from judge Carrie Ann Inaba for his debut performance during Monday night's live installment of the celebrity ballroom dance competition.

"Hey, back off," Inaba said as the altercation was occurring off screen.

When the show returned, "Dancing with the Stars" host Tom Bergeron explained they were interrupted by "a little incident" and thanked the ABC series' security team "for staying in shape."

The two men were detained by security until police arrived to take them into custody, Los Angeles police spokesman Mike Lopez said. He did not have the men's names.

No one was injured or listed as a victim in the incident, Lopez said.

The swimmer told Bergeron that "so many feelings are going through my head right now." Lochte added that he was "a little hurt, but I came out here. I wanted to do something I'm completely not comfortable with, and I did."

ABC did not immediately return messages seeking comment about the incident.

During the episode, the Olympic medalist performed a foxtrot routine with professional partner Cheryl Burke to "Call Me Irresponsible." They received a combined score from the judges of 24 out of 40.

Lochte and teammates have seen scorn from some since they were involved in an early-morning drunken encounter during the Olympics last month at a gas station in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They later claimed they were threatened and robbed. United States team officials banned Lochte for 10 months, requiring him to forfeit $100,000 in bonuses and miss the 2017 world championships.