Rio 2016

USA Swimming bans Ryan Lochte 10 months, Jack Conger 4 months

USA Swimming bans Ryan Lochte 10 months, Jack Conger 4 months

Ryan Lochte is banned from swimming through next June and will forfeit $100,000 in bonus money that went with his gold medal at the Olympics, part of the penalty for his drunken encounter at a gas station in Brazil during last month's games.

The U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Swimming announced the penalties Thursday. Lochte agreed to a ban that will also render him ineligible for world championships next July because he won't be able to qualify for them at nationals the previous month.

He'll get no monthly funding from either organization, can't access USOC training centers, must perform 20 hours of community service and will miss Team USA's post-Olympics trip to the White House.

Agreeing to four-month suspensions were Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen, who were with Lochte at the gas station. Those sanctions, which end Dec. 31, also strip funding and training access and preclude them from the White House visit.

Bentz, 20, will also serve 10 hours of community service for violating a curfew rule for athletes under 21.

"As we have said previously, the behavior of these athletes was not acceptable. It unfairly maligned our hosts and diverted attention away from the historic achievements of Team USA," USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said. "Each of the athletes has accepted responsibility for his actions and accepted the appropriate sanctions."

The USOC gives a $25,000 bonus to Olympic gold-medal winners, and USA Swimming has awarded a $75,000 gold-medal bonus at past Olympics.

But that money pales in comparison to what Lochte lost last month when key sponsors , including Speedo USA and Ralph Lauren, abandoned the 32-year-old in the wake of his actions at the gas station, then his rapidly changing accounts of what really happened. Estimates have put the financial hit for those losses at around $1 million.

While the near-10-month suspension is four months longer than the one Michael Phelps received in 2014 for his second DUI, the ouster from next year's world championships isn't considered major, in part because those championships typically attract a lesser field in the year after the Olympics.

Swimming's international federation, FINA, called the sanctions "proportionate, adequate and sufficient," and said it had no plans to augment them. It credited the International Olympic Committee's disciplinary commission for adding the community-service penalty.

Despite his embarrassment, Lochte has maintained a high profile, posting regularly on social media and accepting a spot on the upcoming season of "Dancing With The Stars."

Last month, Brazilian police charged Lochte with filing a false robbery report, but Lochte has not said whether he'll return to Brazil to defend himself.

Lochte's gold in the 4x200 freestyle relay was one of 121 overall medals the United States won at the Olympics, yet his actions at the gas station overshadowed a large portion of the second half of the Olympics.

"When Code of Conduct infractions occur, it's our responsibility to take action that reflects the seriousness of what happened," USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus said. "Unfortunately, this story line took attention away from the athletes who deserved it the most."

Autistic swimmer looks a lot like his idol, Michael Phelps

Autistic swimmer looks a lot like his idol, Michael Phelps

Austin Levingston is a big fan of U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps. And who wouldn't be? The Baltimore native's 28 medals make him the most decorated Olympian in history. 

But Levingston stands out among Phelp's fans for his remarkable story, as told in a simple comment on the swimmer's Facebook page

Hello Micheal, my name is Austin and I am autistic. I know you may not care to read this but you are one of my biggest idols and I've been following you for a very long time. Right now, I am currently going to college and hoping to become the first person in my whole family to get a degree. I am also a swim competitor just like you and I'm hoping to swim in the Olympics just like you someday. I also wanted to show you this thing I made which is a couple of pictures of you and me split up side by side. If you look very closely, you can almost tell that we are a bit simular to each other!! You will never understand how many people come up to me and mention how I look simular to you!!! Anyway, have a good day man!! Congrats to you on making big history!!

Posted by Austin Levingston on Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Levingston received overwhelmingly positive responses. He told The Baltimore Sun that he never expected the likes, comments and friend requests -- the attention in general -- coming his way. 

Swimming, he said, changed his life for the better. The 21-year-old Kansan now hopes to pursue the sport in college as he moves from Barton County Community College to Tabor College. He even dreams of the Olympics one day. 

And for the record, Levingston wants Phelps to come out of retirement for the 2020 Games, especially for the chance to race the legend himself. 

RELATED: Phelps gets egg on his face while visiting 'The Tonight Show'

There's video of moment Hope Solo learned her contract was terminated

There's video of moment Hope Solo learned her contract was terminated

Hope Solo, longtime goalie of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team, has a fiery personality. Look no further than her claim that the Swedish team played like "cowards" in defeating the Americans in the quarterfinal match of the Rio Olympics.

Those comments drew severe punishment from U.S. Soccer: a six-month suspension and terminated contract. And though Solo said she was "saddened" by the discipline in a prepared statement, how did she react when she got the news?

A crew for the docu-series Keeping Score caught the moment, and her reaction, on camera. A clip was released as a tease today. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_cu1hMwsgI

"Seventeen f------ years and it's over!" Solo is pictured hugging her husband, former NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens, and tearing up. 

The USWNT star is a known hothead, but her shock and anger pretty relatable. She's 35 years old, meaning she'll be 38 by the time the next Women's World Cup rolls around.

A suspension and terminated contract are likely the end of the line for a player who'd been the face of the team for nearly a decade. 

Keeping Score follows several USWNT players, including Crystal Dunn of the Washington Spirit, up to and through their Olympic experience. The episode dedicated to Solo will air on Sep. 2.