Ryan Lochte – What is reputation worth?

Ryan Lochte – What is reputation worth?


Ryan Lochte is the second most decorated American swimmer of all time, winning 12 Olympic medals (six gold, three silver, three bronze). If not for Michael Phelps, we would probably be heralding Ryan as the best Olympic swimmer ever. However, after all that, he will most likely be remembered best for his lies and exaggerations after he finished his races at the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio.

The Truth: The short version is that Ryan and several other swimmers went out drinking after the swimming portion of the games ended. On the way back to the Olympic village, one of the members kicked in a bathroom door causing some damage. A couple security guards witnessed this destruction of property and demanded that the swimmers monetarily pay for the damage, at gunpoint. The swimmers coughed up some money and the security guards let them go.

The Lie: In an effort to ‘save face,’ Ryan Lochte concocted a story. He told reporters that he and his fellow swimmers were pulled out of their cab by armed men who posed as police officers. Lochte said that one of the armed men cocked his gun and pointed it directly at his head.  Of course, once the video surveillance tapes were released and his fellow swimmers directly contradicted Lochte’s story, Lochte came clean and said that he was merely drunk and over-exaggerated the story.


Dr. Hoedel’s Lesson #1 – Compounding the Situation: This whole scenario was so avoidable. If Lochte had merely honestly portrayed this event the first time, it would have been a non-story. He could have said, “Some friends and I got a little carried away in our celebrations last night, had too much to drink and had to pay for some small damages we caused at a public restroom.” But, instead, he compounded his error by lying and embarrassing the host nation. Please note that it wasn’t the actions that got him in trouble, it was the cover up, it was the lie.

Dr. Hoedel’s Lesson #2 – Reputation: Ryan Lochte will be forever linked with this situation. My guess is Ryan is a tremendous person with high character. He is a great champion with an incredible work ethic. I have been on record for over a decade saying that people should not be judged for one short episode in their life when they have a lifetime of positive moments. However, I am not most people. Most people will judge Lochte on this one event for the rest of his life. His sponsors have already cut ties with him, costing Lochte millions of dollars. His reputation is in shambles, and the only person he has to blame is himself.

Your Turn:

  1. What is your opinion of Ryan Lochte at this point? Why?
  2. Do you think it is fair that he is being judged so harshly for this one incident?

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  1. Lochte should not be being judged this harshly. Everyone makes mistakes and unfortunately Lochte was just caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    1. Post

      Paige, I agree with the first part, but I would not say that he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. He did the damage and was responsible. He then tried to cover up his indiscretions with a lie. I think he needs to be held responsible for this, but maybe not at this level. What you say?

    2. Really? In the full interview (the full version of the second video) he partially admitted but still keeps acting like a victim. We’ve seen the security video and he still didn’t tell the full truth. Lochte said that he’s only human and he makes mistakes. That is true and people make mistakes and those actions don’t automatically make them bad people. But it is whether or not they own up to their actions or continue to run it along is what determines character.

    3. It is true that everyone makes mistakes, however this mistake could have had severe consequences. This is a man who was accepted into Brazil as an Athlete to compete in the Olympics. Brazil has been fighting for years to insure that their city was safe and capable to host an event like the Olympics. When a story like Lochte’s robbery hits the media, it destroys much of the legitimacy of Brazil effort to ensure a safe Olympics. The magnitude of his actions need to be considered. He was ignorant, arrogant, and disrespectful. If this man had not been caught as a liar, the truth of this situation would never had come to light.

  2. I personally think Lochte should not have tried to cover up his story. It is apparent that he was embarrassed by his actions, yet he should take responsibility for what happened. I do not think the repercussions are too harsh because he lied about his story and caused others to lose trust in him.

  3. I do agree that everyone makes mistakes and in the spotlight of the media, it can be hard to always tell the full truth, but a lie is a lie. Ultimately, Ryan Lochte committed a wrong and should pay the consequences for his actions.

  4. I don’t believe Lochte should be harshly punished. He was drunk and got a little out of hand and has admitted to the matter.

  5. I think Ryan Lochte was in front of the police at the spur of the moment and wasn’t thinking clearly. However, his response to the situation was unnecessary. Small damage to a bathroom door would not have been a big deal if Lochte hadn’t lied about what had happened. I don’t think he deserves to be judged so harshly for this one incident because he apologized and admitted to his inappropriate actions.

  6. I believe if you feel that you cant own up to something that you did you should be punished because no one likes liar. He just made the situation worse and could have ruined someone else’s reputation by talking about the security guards making them do something. I think he should be punished by community service or paying for a whole new bathroom he has the money.

  7. This guy just was too embarassed to tell the public what happened, it’s understandable. He’s human and he just didn’t want to be in trouble, it’s sad how one thing changed this guy’s life.

  8. 1.) My opinion on Ryan is that it was his fault that he was drinking and that he was drinking at the wrong place at the wrong time.
    2.) I think that it’s fair but unfair because well it is fair because he decided to act crazy but then it is unfair because he is a human being all humans get drunk once in there life and do something crazy.

  9. Lochte should’ve just fessed up from the beginning, however his behavior of acting as a victim and going on to create a story of how he was robbed shows how “great” his character is. He is a grown man and he knew what he did was wrong but went about it anyways and he will be judged for it. This small moment didn’t ruin his career, his own actions afterwards did.

  10. I think that Ryan made an honest mistake that he will always regret. Although he would do anything to take it back, he deserves the new view people have on him. He should have processed his actions more thoroughly.

  11. Ryan Lochte made a mistake. He realized that he has made a huge mistake that injures his reputation quite harshly. Being what he is, an Olympian, he has the weight of the whole country on him and has to uphold its reputation. He obviously didn’t do this very well but he is just human. He should be held to a higher standard then the average person because he isn’t one. He could have been a great role model for kids, or a man that this country is proud to call their own. He still has a chance to do this though through redeeming act.

  12. I believe it is fair for Ryan Lochte to be judged harshly for the mistakes that he made. He went to a different country to represent the United Sates and made a fool out of us. Not only that but he also disrespected his title as an Olympian.

  13. After reading this article, It is safe to say what Ryan did is morally wrong. He fabricated a story to gain publicity, and distorts it when asked by reporters and authorities. He does deserve to have his sponsorships taken away. However, I do admire and commend him for eventually coming out clean and apologizing for his act. I hope he regains some of his sponsorships back and continues playing as an Olympian.

  14. I don´t know why people in this world have to lie like tell us the truth right away and this situation can be better but if you lie to us then in the future when we find out about it we may hate you a lot.

  15. I believe Ryan Lochte should no longer be an inspiration for people around the world. I think it is fair that he is being judged so harshly because he lied in order to make himself look better, and he just dug himself a deeper hole by doing this.

  16. I believe that what Ryan Lochte did was wrong and i do not think of Ryan Lochte as a good role model because he basically lied to everyone. I think it is fair that he is being judged so harshly on this incident because everyone looked up to him and he lied about something pretty serious and thought he could get away with it.

  17. I think he’s a punk and unintentionally represents how society responds to white people compared to people of color. There could be a reason for not holding him as accountable for his actions, but he wasn’t drunk when he lied… If Lochte would have been African American, Americans would not have forgiven him, or felt sorry for him.

  18. My opinion of Ryan Lochte is that he is dishonest. I think it is fair for him to be judged because it could of affected the people of Rio and the people that were accused of robbing him.

  19. My opinion on Ryan Lochte changes but not that much. Lochte did lie about the incident but he shouldn’t be judged so hard. Ryan did pay for the damage but he shouldn’t lie about what he did.

  20. My opinion of Ryan is no longer that he is a great Olympic swimmer, but that he is a liar looking for attention, and he is afraid to admit his mistakes. I think the judgement is fair because it was a very serious accusation for him to make, especially considering the fact that it was false.

  21. My opinion is on Ryan Lochte is that he is one on the best american swimmers ever but he won’t be recognized for that because of one little lie. I don’t think he deserves to be judged this unfairly because he is a excellent swimmer and if it wasn’t for Michael Phelps he might even be the best american swimmer but that is all gone because he exaggerated the truth once.

  22. 1.My opinion of him is that is a liar and I think he should be kicked from the sport
    2.I think so because he did not tell the truth and if it would have been takin true he could have got in more trouble than needed

  23. Ryan Lochte to me is still one of the best swimmers of all time but he is not someone to look up to after this incident due to his dishonestly. I think it was fair that he was judged so harshly because he should have taken responsibility for his actions instead of lying to the press. He was a bad example for everyone that looked up to him as a role model.

  24. He should´nt have lied because hes known as a liar now. He was drunk and you cant control your actions when your drunk but the next morning he was probably sober so he should´ve told the truth.

  25. My opinion on Ryan Lochte is that he is a liar and he manipulates the truth for more sympathy. I don’t think that he should be punished as harshly because he did come clean, however this was after evidence proved his story was wrong.

  26. I think that he deserves the backlash but not to the extreme extent that people have made it out to be. Although he was under the influence and did the damage it’s still unfortunate that he did make that mistake.

  27. I see him now as someone who lies to try to cover up his mistakes, someone who is not an honest person for their county. I would never look at his as a good swimmer, I’ll just remember his as they guy who lied, and putting a reputation to America that we’re liars.

    Yes it is fair that he is being treated this way. If someone would ever tell a lie that great that lie should be remembered, this one incident is one major incident.

  28. What I think of him is that it is his fault that he went out drinking and he was stupid and they destroyed things and then he lied about what had happened and made up a story saying he was the victim and was robbed. Also I kind of think that is a little harsh, but yet he made a lie about being put at gun point when really it was because they did something bad so he tried looking like a good person, but really he made the situation worse.

  29. Ryan shouldn’t have lied because people who are in the spot light who lie are usually found out. People who are inspirational figures shouldn’t lie because it sends a bad message to people who look up to them. So, it is fair how Ryan is being treated for lying.

  30. Ryan Lochte is a liar to me at this point from what he did. I think it is a little harsh but if he would’ve owned up to that he was drunk the night before and his story is false then he would have received no punishment. But Ryan Lochte decided to lie and keep his story till the real video was released.

  31. My opinion on him now is still the same as a great olympic swimmer. Yes he told a lie, but everyone makes these dumb mistakes in life. No he should not be judged for this one lie. Why don´t people just get it off their minds, and move on.

  32. Maybe it wouldn’t have been as big of a deal if he would have apologized when it happened and not lied on TV to everyone about it. I think is was a little bit of a messed up that he lied not only because it’s wrong but because he disrespected the people that lived there. He made them sound like they were the bad guys and sent out a bad image to everyone about people and police in Rio. I think he was judged fairly because his lie could have costed people their jobs and affected them and their lives as well.

  33. My opinion of Ryan Lochte really changed after this situation. He just had no regard for the people of Rio and how this incident could have affected their business and the tourism there. I think that the punishment he is receiving is fair because he really should have contradicted the lie right away and told the truth right away. Instead though he wove himself into a web of lies.

  34. I think Lochte is pathetic. Instead of taking responsibility for his actions he lied and made up a whole story to try and trick people into believing he was a victim. I think it’s very fair because he could have just been honest and people would have been less harsh on him because everyone makes bad decisions at times.

  35. My opinion on him is that he is still a great swimmer but he has lost all respect at this point by lying to our entire nation. I do think it is fair because if he would have told the truth he would not be hated as much as he is now.

  36. My opinion of Ryan Lochte did change after this event. He made the people of Rio sound like savages, and could have affected Rios tourism in a very serious way if he had gotten away with his lie. I believe that Ryans punishment was just for a little while, however I do think that by now people need to let it go, and give him a little bit of leeway. He made a mistake, and he got his punishment, now just leave him alone.

  37. 1) I think he is just a liar and a drunk
    2) I think that the punishment is fair because he was the one who lied. Just for a little door that anyone can replace

  38. I think that if Ryan lochte would have told the truth that he had too much to drink and he vandalized the bathroom it wouldn’t have made the news and not a lot of people would have known about it but he lied and the whole world knows he did and it made the situation worse for him.

  39. My opinion of Ryan Lochte is that he is dishonest. I think it is fair that he is being treated this harshly because he should have owned up to his mistakes. He is also known worldwide so it sets a bad example for many other people if he didn’t get a harsh punishment.

  40. My opinion on Ryan Lochte changed since this situation. I think of him as a dishonest person even though he is a very decorated olympic swimmer. I think it is fair that he is getting judged this harshly because he should have taken responsibility for his actions right away instead of making up a big lie.

  41. I still think he is a really good swimmer but when I hear his name I will always think of a liar. He was dishonest and had multiple opportunities to clear his name and he still decided to be dishonest and I think that speaks a lot of volume about who he is as a person.
    I do think it’s fair that he is getting judged for this. He could have made a better choice and he didn’t. That’s not on anyone but himself. People will always judge him for being a liar.

  42. Ryan Lochte isn’t an honest person. I’m just assuming that he just wants attention from everyone. He should take reasonability for his actions but maybe not at this high level but he asked for it and he cant unsay words. He now should know his lesson and think twice before he does something like this.

  43. My opinion of Ryan Lochte after this event is that he is a liar and an attention seeker. He totaled his reputation attempting to cover up a dent. He has no valid reason in any way other that stupidity. I believe that when that when that many people look up to you always need to think before you do. He failed to do that and this is what people should and will remember him for.

  44. I think that in my opinion Ryan Lochte really did change after he lied to the the nation and world about his stupid mistake. He had no regard for how this would not only represent himself but also his country. I think that the harsh treatment is justified, he lied and made up some story when the it wasn’t as big of a deal but then made it a big deal. He didn’t come clean until evidence proved his story wrong.

  45. My opinion is that he is probably a decent person but he made a really really bad decision. I think ihe should not be judged this harshly. You have to take into account his other achievements but this was a really bad decision. He publicly lied about a situation that wasn’t even that big of a deal. However, he wasn’t the one that did the damage and his story actually wasn’t hugely different from the truth. They were held at gunpoint, their money was taken, he just made himself out to be a victim instead of owning up to the fact that his friend did damage.

  46. 1. My opinion of Ryan Lochte is that he is a faker and liar. I think this because he lied to everyone about what really happened in Rio. He had tons of chances to come clean and say the truth, but instead he just dug a deeper hole.
    2. I think that it is totally fair that he is being judged so harshly, I believe this because he is one of the best athletes in the world and people look up to him. I also think he should be judged harshly because he is representing USA, he is representing his country, why would he want to make us look bad.

  47. I think that Ryan Lochte ruined his reputation as a great swimmer. If he would have owned up to his first mistake then I would still think highly of him but now that he lied to cover up his mistake I lost my respect for him. I do think that it is fair that he is being so harshly judged because that is not something you lie about because it puts other peoples jobs on the line as well as showing his true character.

  48. I’ve thought of Ryan Lochte as a fake ever since the scandal ended. Instead of coming out clean about him and some friends trashing a bathroom he had to go and make this whole story about how he was robbed at gun point. I think it is fair that he is being judged so harshly because he was there to represent our country. Something like that is an honor and a privilege so now that he’s lied on national news that makes the United States look bad. It makes it look like we train a bunch of crooks who can’t take responsibility for their own actions.

  49. My opinion of Ryan Lockte went from someone who I thought had his life set up before him as a successful, hard working young man to a liar and someone who is more focused on getting attention than actually competing. I do think that he should be punished, but not to the extent that he has received. This one moment should not define his career, especially if he is able to turn himself around and realize what he did was wrong. If he is able to do so, I believe he should once again be respected and recognized for his dedication.

  50. 1. Liar, scandal,cheater,disgrace to his country. What was so disappointing about him is that he lied over something that was originally just a bad decision. He tried to ruin the reputation of Rio but ended up destroying his.

    2. Yes , because he had many chances to just tell the truth and own up to his mistake.

  51. 1) At this point, I have a really low opinion of Ryan Lochte. I was unaware of who he was and what he did. When I found out that he was a decorated swimmer that lied for to cover up his bad behavior, I did not think highly of him.

    2) I do think that it is fair that he is being judged harshly for this incident. There was absolutely no reason for him to lie. This being at the Olympics, he also risked making the United States look bad.

  52. My opinion on him now is still the same as a normal Olympic contender. Yes he told a lie, but everyone makes a few mistakes in life and has lied.
    I think Ryan Lochte got targeted to harshly, because of one little lie. I don’t think he deserves to be judged this unfairly because he is a excellent swimmer and everyone makes mistakes and if it wasn’t for Michael Phelps he might even be the best swimmer but that is all gone .

  53. I don´t understand his way of thinking, why lie when there was no point in lying in the first place? I do not like him for way he chose to not take responsibility for his actions and make it into a bigger deal. He tried to be manipulative and tried to become to make himself the victim. I think you deserve what you put out, he wanted to go and lie and so those are the consequences. I also believe he deserves to be judged because if he hadn´t gotten caught, it wouldn´t have revealed his true character.

  54. My opinion of Ryan Lochte has changed, he is not someone that I would ever look up to after this incident due to his dishonesty. I do think it was fair for him to be judged as harshly as he was. No one likes a liar and no one likes someone who lies in order to make themselves come out on top and look better than anyone else around them. He should’ve just taken responsibility for his actions and continued to be a role model for the world rather than compromise his integrity.

  55. I see him full of lies trying to cover up his mistakes I don’t see him as an Olympic swimmer. I see him that he only cares about himself and not our Country as an Olympians.

  56. My opinion did change. I think he is dishonest and a liar because he lied over something so small that has turned into a huge deal. He could’ve just said the truth, that way it wouldn’t have affected him and his career. I think it is fair that he is being judged so harshly because now he has made himself look bad and needs to be held responsible for his actions.

  57. My opinion on Ryan Lochte is that he’s a coward. I believe this because there is no need to make up some lie about being robbed at gunpoint to try to take the attention away from you making a mistake while you were intoxicated. He was better off owning up to kicking the door down at the gas station and paying his dues towards the gas station than doing what he did. I think it is fair that he is being judged so harshly for this one incident because he was the one who decided to announce this story when knowing it never happened in the first place. He also represents the Olympics and what they do so when he is making such stories up or even acting the way he did in the first place, it reflects on the Olympics.

    1. Post

      Hunter, then you just learned the lesson I was trying to teach with this story. It is my opinion that Ryan learned his lesson the hard way. I am guessing that with 20/20 hindsight, he would have handled that situation soooo much differently. He learned the importance of honesty and integrity. He learned that it is better to admit a mistake right away before making it worse with additional lies. The reason for these blogs is to teach younger students like you so that you can learn from others as opposed to the school of hard-knocks, the way Ryan did. Sounds like you will do the right thing in a similar situation in the future.

  58. My opinion is that Ryan was stressed about the fact he messed up so he decided to make up a lie that wouldn’t ruin his great reputation.

    I feel as if he is being judged properly because what he did was wrong and uncalled for. Also, it was his fault he got drunk and destroyed the public property.

  59. I opinon of Ryan is he is a great swimmer just someone who can’t make good choices when they go out in public especially if you do something that get you in trouble and then can cause your story to go international and cause your life to change forever by how people look up to you and how they view you as a person. I think he is getting judged pretty harshly for what he did but at the same time I feel like people should stop rememsnising over it because it happened we found out the truth and he promises he won’t do it again and everyone should move on with their lives instead of replying it and talking about it over and over again because that is just gonna make him feel worse about the decision he made and how it has permenatley affected his life.

  60. Ryan shouldn’t judge so hard because not everyone is perfect in this world and people are gonna mess up Ryan should also be responsible for what he did.

  61. I agree that yes, he made a mistake but also everyone makes mistakes. I think he may be getting a little over judged but also he should be more of a role model because of the position he is in and think more about his actions.