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Ryan Lochte: It’s crazy I got punished more than other athletes

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Ryan Lochte said little about his 10-month ban when it was handed down in September. Now that it’s almost over, the 12-time Olympic medalist was quoted Friday as being critical of the punishment.

The Times of London set up a quote from Lochte by stating, “some may see Lochte’s crime as being magnified by his reputation.”

“I mean, yeah, it’s kind of crazy because you have incidents where other athletes are beating women or driving recklessly and could kill people, yet what I did was blown up way more than what they had,” Lochte said, according to the report. “Then I get sentenced more and everything, just crazy.”

Lochte’s ban after his Rio gas-station incident, which ends June 30, is four months longer than Michael Phelps‘ ban following his DUI arrest in 2014.

Phelps’ punishment tacked on exclusion from the 2015 World Championships, which took place four months after the end of his formal suspension.

Lochte’s first media comments about the suspension in September were more guarded.

“For someone telling me that I can’t do something that I’ve been doing my entire life, I mean it’s heartbreaking, and it stinks,” he said then.

His attorney was quoted saying, “In my opinion, while the collective sanctions appear to be harsh when considering what actually happened that day — Ryan did not commit a crime, he did not put the public safety at risk, and he did not cheat in his sport — we will leave it to others to evaluate the appropriateness of the penalties.”

Before Lochte received the suspension, he said the incident was “blown way out of proportion” and that media “has taken this to a whole new level.”

In Friday’s article, Lochte criticized the media again.

“The media definitely took it and made it way bigger than it was,” Lochte said, according to the Times. “They did not get their facts straight but they wanted to point a finger and they pointed it at me. I think people had already jumped to conclusions.

“They did their investigations and, as you can see, the bathroom is completely intact. That’s why we went outside in the bushes. Yes I embellished the gun being pointed at my forehead, but it was pointed in my direction, whether it was an inch or five feet. We were all scared and we had to give them money. Whether you want to call it extortion or we had to give them money to pay for the sign that got knocked down is your call. The media drifted away from the facts.”

Lochte returned to competition in April at a meet that fell outside of the scope of his USA Swimming ban. He has said he plans to return to USA Swimming competition in August and try to make the 2020 Tokyo Olympic team.

Lochte will turn 36 years old during the Tokyo Games, making him older than all but two previous U.S. Olympic swimmers in individual events (Edgar Adams, 1904, and Dara Torres, 2008).

“I took time off. I needed it. My body and mind needed it to recover,” Lochte said in April, according to the Orange County Register, adding he hasn’t been this happy since 2012. “It was just a dog fight for so many years I just got overwhelmed with the sport and lost the passion and the love for it. But now I have it. I have new passion, and I’m finding ways that swimming is fun again.”

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Richie Porte crashes out of Tour de France again

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Australian Richie Porte crashed out of the Tour de France on the ninth stage for a second straight year, suffering a fractured right clavicle six miles into Sunday’s stage.

“Obviously I’m devastated,” Porte said, according to Team BMC. “For the second year in a row I am ending the Tour de France like this. I was on the ground before I knew it, and straight away felt pain in my right shoulder.”

Porte, who finished fifth in the 2016 Tour de France and was an overall podium contender these last two years, was seen sitting on the side of the road, gritting his teeth and crossing his right arm over his chest.

There was a mass stoppage of riders, with at least one spectator down on the side of the narrow road. The crash came well before the Tour stage was to hit 15 arduous cobblestone sections totaling 13 miles.

Porte was in 10th place after eight stages, 57 seconds behind race leader and BMC teammate Greg Van Avermaet. Avermaet and American Tejay van Garderen, in third place, were expected to work for Porte in the mountains later this week, hoping to put him in the yellow jersey.

Now, Van Garderen is in line to be the team leader.

In 2017, Porte fractured his clavicle and pelvis on a ninth-stage crash on a descent and had to abandon the Tour.

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Chris Froome, other stars crash on Tour de France cobblestones stage

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Richie PorteTejay van GarderenRigoberto UranMikel Landa. Even Chris Froome.

Stage nine of the Tour de France promised to rattle the top riders, and the 15 sections of cobblestones totaling 13 miles delivered just that. All of the named men crashed on Sunday, with Porte abandoning the Grand Tour altogether (albeit he crashed before the first cobbles section, six miles into the stage).

In the end, German John Degenkolb got the stage win ahead of overall race leader Greg Van Avermaet and Yves Lampaert.

Van Avermaet, the Olympic road race champion from Belgium, retained the yellow jersey for a sixth straight day, extending his lead to 43 seconds over Brit Geraint Thomas. Van Avermaet rides for Team BMC, which lost its team leader in Porte.

American van Garderen presumably became the new team leader, but he crashed later in the stage and also suffered three flat tires.

Van Garderen entered the day third in the overall standings, nine seconds behind Van Avermaet. He ended it in 30th place, 6:05 behind Van Avermaet.

The best-placed favorite to finish on the podium in Paris on July 29 is now the four-time Tour winner Froome, in eighth place, 1:42 behind Van Avermaet. Froome is trying to tie the record of five Tour titles shared by Jacques AnquetilEddy MerckxBernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.

The Tour takes its first of two rest days Monday, resuming with the first day in the Alps on Tuesday live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold (full broadcast schedule here). Stage 10 features a beyond-category climb and three category-one climbs.

“I’m relieved to get through today and looking forward to getting into the mountains now where the real race for GC (general classification) will start,” Froome said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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