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Disgraced swimmer banned and loses bonus

By Eddie Pells

Ryan Lochte has been banned from swimming until next June and will forfeit $100,000 (£75,000) in bonus money that went with his gold medal at the Olympics.

It is part of the penalty for his drunken encounter at a petrol station in Brazil during last month's games.

The US Olympic Committee (USOC) and USA Swimming announced the penalties yesterday.

Lochte agreed to a ban that will also render him ineligible for world championships next July because he will no be able to qualify for them at nationals the previous month.

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

Also agreeing to four-month suspensions were Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen, who were with Lochte at the petrol station.

Those sanctions, which end on December 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 behaviour of these athletes was not acceptable," USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun said.

"It unfairly maligned our hosts and diverted attention away from the historic achievements of Team USA.

"Each athlete has accepted responsibility for his actions and accepted the sanctions."

The USOC gives a $25,000 (£18,800) bonus to Olympic gold-medal winners, and USA Swimming has awarded a $75,000 (£56,388) gold medal bonus at past Olympics.

But that money pales in comparison to what Lochte lost when key sponsors, including Speedo USA and Ralph Lauren, abandoned the 32-year-old in the wake of his actions at the petrol station. Estimates have put the financial hit for those losses at around $1m (£752,000).

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