Ryan Lochte Is 'Still Battling' After Rio Scandal But Says His Olympic Odds Are 'So Good' (Exclusive)
By John Boone
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In Deep With Ryan Lochte is many things at once: A celebrity profile catching up with the once-embattled athlete years after an international incident, a sports documentary showing the lengths one goes to achieve greatness, and for Ryan Lochte himself, perhaps a chance at redemption.
The doc, which hails from NBC Sports Films and is available on NBCUniversal's new streamer, Peacock, doesn't shy away from the fallout of the 2016 Rio Olympics, during which Lochte alleged he and three American swimmers were robbed at gunpoint. The claims proved to be fabricated -- or at least greatly exaggerated -- and following Lochtegate, as it became known, he was suspended from competition for 10 months and dropped by a number of major sponsors.
"Because of what happened in Rio and everything, I was in a hole and I was climbing my way out, me and my family," Lochte tells ET's Keltie Knight. "And we're still doing that -- we're still battling some things -- but we are doing it together. And you're definitely going to see that."
Now 35, Lochte sees the scandal in Rio as a wakeup call. "I never have any regrets in life," he explains. "I definitely am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and it was someone basically slapping me and being like, 'Wake up.' Like, 'Grow up.'"
Lochte says his life really turned around when he and his wife, Kayla Rae Reid, welcomed their first son, Caiden, the next year. "It was, like, no longer am I just watching out for me." A daughter, Liv, followed in 2019. And though Lochte has appeared on TV competing on Dancing With the Stars and Celebrity Big Brother, he still feels like he has so much to show.
"There's a lot of people out there that have a different perception of who I really am," he says. "I want to set the record straight and I want people to see how I've grown up, how I've matured and the person I am today."
There's also the Olympics of it all. A 12-time Olympic medalist, Lochte remains the second-most decorated swimmer in the Games' history, a fact that has been overshadowed by controversy and celebrity in recent years. If he makes the cut for the Tokyo Olympics -- rescheduled for July 23 - Aug. 8, 2021 -- he will have the chance to prove himself as an athlete first.
"People thought I got to where I was in swimming because of talent, but that's not it. I busted my ass every day," he rebuffs. "I am 110 percent committed when I step on that pool deck."
So, what are his chances of competing on Team USA?
"So good," Lochte reveals. "My coach tells me almost every other day, he's like, 'What are you doing differently? Times that you're doing in practice are faster than when you were at your greatest in 2012.' I'm like, 'I'm just ready to rock and roll. Let's do it.' I'm in a better mindset, a better mood, and I have more determination and fire burning inside of me than I did before."
In Deep With Ryan Lochte is now streaming on Peacock.