Ryan Lochte

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."

Father: Jack Conger guarded by U.S. personnel, could fly home Thursday night

Father: Jack Conger guarded by U.S. personnel, could fly home Thursday night

Jack Conger, one of the three U.S. swimmers detained in Rio, could be heading home soon. 

His father Stephen Conger told ESPN Thursday that he'd been in contact with his son via text message. If all went according to plan, Jack would fly home on Thursday night. 

What happened to prompt the international drama is still murky.

According to U.S. swimming star Ryan Lochte, he and three teammates (Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen) had stopped to use a gas station bathroom when they were robbed at gunpoint by men posing as police officers.  

Rio police investigators held a press conference Thursday afternoon contradicting Lochte's account. They alleged that the Americans fabricated the robbery story to cover up vandalizing the gas station's restroom and being with women who were not their girlfriends. The police pointed to surveillance footage from the scene that night. 

Investigators said gas station security guards confronted the group about damage to the restroom, at which point Lochte became combative, prompting one of the guards to draw a firearm to "control" the situation. The swimmers then offered the guards the equivalent of $70 U.S. dollars to pay for the damage and left the scene before the police arrived. 

Rio police also stated that at least one of Lochte's teammates admitted that the robbery story was made up and gave a different account that matched the police version of events. 

Both sides agree that the athletes used the bathroom at the gas station, were confronted by men who pointed a gun at them and gave money to those men before leaving. 

Conger's father doesn't know what to believe. "We're as in the dark as anyone about what happened. I don't know if there was a robbery or not," Stephen told ESPN. But he suspects the situation is now "more a political ordeal than a criminal one."

When Jack was removed from his flight Wednesday for questioning by Rio police, he wasn't actually under arrest, Stephen said. The 21-year-old swimmer stayed the night in a hotel with U.S. government personnel guarding him. 

RELATED: Rockville swimmer Conger detained in Rio, faces legal trouble

UPDATE: Rockville swimmer Jack Conger detained in Rio, group admits fabricating robbery story

UPDATE: Rockville swimmer Jack Conger detained in Rio, group admits fabricating robbery story

UPDATED 8/18/16 1:05 p.m.

A local swimmer has been caught up in the Rio police investigation into whether Ryan Lochte was robbed at gunpoint during the Olympic Games. 

Jack Conger – from Rockville, Md. – was one of three members of the U.S. swim team accompanying Lochte when the alleged holdup occurred. The others were Gunnar Bentz and James Feigen. 

Only Lochte and Feigen originally spoke to police about the incident, which has since prompted an investigation into whether the swimmers fabricated their story, a crime in itself. 

On Wednesday a Rio judge ordered that Lochte's and Feigen's passports be confiscated, but Lochte had already returned to the U.S. and Feigen's whereabouts were unknown. 

Brazilian police discovered that Feigen had checked in online for a flight out of Rio Wednesday, but did not show up for his plane. Conger and Bentz, meanwhile, had boarded their flight, but were removed by police for questioning.

The U.S. Olympic Committee provided this update Thursday morning: 

The three U.S. Olympic swimmers (Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen) are cooperating with authorities and in the process of scheduling a time and place today to provide further statements to the Brazilian authorities. All are represented by counsel and being appropriately supported by the USOC and the U.S. Consulate in Rio.

Evolving Story

Though the initial inquiry focused on the alleged robbery, the Rio police investigation turned on the American swimmers as authorities could find no evidence to support their claims.

Conflicting and changing accounts from that evening first raised suspicion. Here's a quick timeline of events:

Aug. 14:

• News broke of the alleged robbery when Lochte's mother, Ileana, reported to the press that her son and his companions were robbed when men with guns stopped their taxi and demanded their wallets.

• Later that day, Lochte himself told NBC that the assailants presented a police badge and that one cocked a gun and held it to his forehead. 

Aug. 16:

• Lochte arrived back in the U.S. as originally scheduled. He said the American swimmers did not report the incident to police or Olympic officials out of fear that they had broken USOC rules and could get in trouble.

• Meanwhile back in Rio, police said that Lochte's and Feigen's statements about the events were inconsistent and vague on key details, possibly because they were drunk. 

Aug. 17:

• British paper The Daily Mail published what it claims was security footage of the U.S. swimmers arriving back at the Olympic Village after the incident. Video showed the four joking around with each other and in possession of valuables like watches.

• Brazilian Judge Keyla Blanc De Cnop issued the order to seize Lochte's and Feigen's passports, citing the suspiciously carefree behavior in the video as part of her judgment. She also revealed that Lochte said there was one robber in his statement to police, while Feigen said there were multiple. The men also reportedly were unable to say what time or where the robbery occurred.  

• Police arrived at the Olympic Village to confiscate the passports, but found that Lochte was already in the U.S. and the rest of the swimmers has moved out. That night, Conger and Bentz were removed from their flights. Feigen's whereabouts remained unknown.

• Speaking by phone to NBC's Matt Lauer, Lochte insisted that he did not and would not fabricate such a story. Several details changed in his latest retelling, including that the robbery occurred after the group's taxi had stopped to use a gas station bathroom (not that their taxi was stopped by the suspects), and that the gun was aimed near him (not held to his forehead). 

Aug. 18:

• USOC's statement said Feigen, Conger and Bentz had legal counsel and support of the U.S. Consulate. The three planed to meet with Brazilian authorities for questioning today. 

• ABC News reported that police sources recovered surveillance video from the gas station that night. It showed one swimmer "breaking down the door to the bathroom at the gas station and fighting with a security guard." 

• Another police source told the Associated Press that the swimmers invented the robbery story to conceal the confrontation at the gas station. The source said that one swimmer tried and failed to open the bathroom door, prompting his companions to push on the door and break it. A security guard with a gun then confronted the group, but did not draw his weapon or aim it at anyone. The gas station manager arrived on the scene, and with translation help from another customer, demanded that the Americans pay for the broken door. The swimmers gave him an undetermined amount of money and left. Lochte then told his mother the robbery story, and she relayed it to the media. 

• A worker from the gas station in question came forward with another variation of the night's events. 

• Around noon Thursday, ESPN reported that Lochte's three teammates admitted that the robbery story was false. 

Legal Consequences

According to Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann, filing a false police report is against the law in Brazil as it is in the U.S. A conviction of the crime can carry a six-month jail sentence or fine, but the Brazilian judicial system would have to determine that the swimmers knowingly lied, as opposed to confused the story after drinking heavily. 

The U.S. and Brazil have an extradition treaty, but it only applies to certain serious crimes, not offenses like filing a false police report. Lochte will almost certainly not be extradited. 

Conger, Bentz and Feigen could be detained in Brazil for an extended time as authorities conduct interviews and determine charges. If charged with filing a false police report or obstruction of justice, the Americans may be able to post bail provided that they do not leave the country. 

The U.S. State Department will almost certainly get involved in the case to expedite a resolution and ensure the swimmers are treated fairly. It's possible that diplomacy, rather than the legal system, will resolve this situation. 

Conger a Montgomery County Kid

As of 1:00 p.m., local news trucks and police vehicles have gathered in front of Conger's home in the Flower Valley neighborhood of Rockville. 

Conger swam locally for Rockville-Montgomery Swim Club and Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney, Md. He went on to swim collegiately for University of Texas. 

While representing Good Counsel at the Metros in 2013, Conger posted a 4:13.87 time in the 500-yard freestyle, obliterating a 30-year-old National High School record by 3 full seconds. 

The 21-year-old finished in the top four of three events at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. His third-place in the 200-meter freestyle earned him a spot on the Olympic roster. 

Once in Rio, Conger won a gold medal as part of the 800-meter freestyle relay team.

Additional information sourced from CNN and SwimSwam.com.