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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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Does Lance Armstrong believe doping contributed to cancer?

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Lance Armstrong said on Sunday’s ESPN film “Lance” that he didn’t know whether he got testicular cancer because of his doping in the early-to-mid 1990s.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” he said. “And I don’t want to say no because I don’t think that’s right, either. I don’t know if it’s yes or no, but I certainly wouldn’t say no. The only thing I will tell you is the only time in my life that I ever did growth hormone was the 1996 season [before being diagnosed with moderate to advanced cancer in October 1996]. So just in my head, I’m like ‘growth, growing, hormones and cells.’ Like, if anything good needs to be grown, it does. But wouldn’t it also make sense that if anything bad is there, that it, too, would grow?”

Armstrong was asked a similar question by Oprah Winfrey in his January 2013 doping confession.

“Do you think that banned substances contributed to you getting cancer?” Winfrey asked.

“I don’t think so,” Armstrong said then. “I’m not a doctor, I’ve never had a doctor tell me that or suggest that to me personally, but I don’t believe so.”

That was not the first time doping and cancer were part of the same conversation.

Teammate Frankie Andreu and then-fiancee Betsy said that Armstrong told a doctor on Oct. 27, 1996, at Indiana University Hospital that he had taken performance-enhancing drugs; EPO, testosterone, growth hormone, cortisone and steroids.

Armstrong said he probably began doping at age 21, in 1992 or 1993.

“I remember when we were on a training ride in 2002, Lance told me that [Michele] Ferrari [the infamous doctor who provided performance-enhancing drugs] had been paranoid that he had helped cause the cancer and became more conservative after that,” former teammate Floyd Landis said in 2011, according to Sports Illustrated.

TIMELINE: Lance Armstrong’s rise and fall

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Cortina requests to postpone Alpine skiing worlds from 2021 to 2022

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The Italian Winter Sports Federation was making a formal request on Monday to postpone next year’s world Alpine skiing championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo until March 2022.

Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malagò revealed the plans during an interview with RAI state TV on Sunday night.

Considering the fallout in Italy from the coronavirus pandemic, Malagò said “this is the best solution” in order to avoid the championships being canceled or shortened.

“It’s a decision in which we both lose but we realize this is the best — or maybe the only thing — to do,” Malago said.

The Italian federation confirmed that the proposal would be presented during an International Ski Federation (FIS) board meeting Monday. The Italian federation added that the decision to make the proposal was made jointly by the organizing committee in Cortina, the Veneto region and the Italian government.

It will be up to FIS to decide on any postponement.

Cortina was already forced to cancel the World Cup Finals in March this year due to the advancing virus, which has now accounted for more than 30,000 deaths in Italy.

Moving the worlds to March 2022 would put the event one month after the Beijing Olympics and likely force FIS to cancel that season’s finals in Méribel and Courchevel, France.

The Cortina worlds are currently scheduled for Feb. 7-21, 2021.

Worlds are usually held every other winter, in odd years.

Cortina is also slated to host Alpine events during the 2026 Milan-Cortina Olympics.

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