Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte is receiving professional treatment for an alcohol addiction he has been battling for quite some time, according to his lawyer, Jeff Ostrow.
Ostrow confirmed to USA Today the six-time Olympic champion swimmer is seeking help after TMZ reported an incident in which Lochte “drunkenly tried to kick in his own hotel room door around 3 a.m.” Thursday in Newport Beach, California.
“Ryan has been battling alcohol addiction for many years, and unfortunately it has become a destructive pattern for him,” Ostrow told TMZ. “He has acknowledged that he needs professional assistance to overcome his problem and will be getting help immediately.”
TMZ later reported Lochte caused a car accident in Gainesville, Florida, on the same day as the hotel incident. The accident happened around 9:45 p.m. ET, according to TMZ. The driver of the car Lochte hit was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, while Lochte didn’t have any injuries and was cited for “careless driving.” There was no mention of alcohol in the police report, TMZ notes.
“Ryan knows that conquering this disease now is a must for him to avoid making future poor decisions, to be the best husband and father he can be, and if he wants to achieve his goal to return to dominance in the pool in his fifth Olympics in Tokyo in 2020,” Ostrow added.
Lochte accepted a 14-month ban from competition in July after violating anti-doping rules. Lochte “fully cooperated” with an investigation launched by USADA after he posted a picture of himself receiving IV fluids on social media in May.
His ineligibility period began May 24, the day the picture was posted, meaning it will expire in July 2019. That timeframe would still allow the 34-year-old to take a shot at his fifth Olympics the following year in Tokyo.
Lochte’s legacy, though, was tarnished by his actions during the Rio Olympics, which he left in disgrace after admitting he had concocted a story about himself and three U.S. swimming teammates being robbed at gunpoint. He served a 10-month suspension after that incident.