Ryan Lochte knows what’s at stake ahead of the summer Olympics in Tokyo.
The polarizing athlete, hoping to become the oldest-ever men’s Olympic swimmer at 36, spoke candidly to Sports Illustrated about the pressure-filled road ahead to solidify his legacy in the pool.
“Everyone around me is putting a lot of pressure on me — more than I’ve ever had in my entire life,” Lochte said. “I feel it from everyone. Like my family. The people that live in this house. My agent. It’s just everyone.
The 12-time Olympic medalist continued, “I feel like, if I don’t [make it], I’ll become a failure.”
The trials to make the team US Olympic swim team will be held in early June over two waves. Lochte has been yearning to write the redemption chapter to his story amid past scandals and private struggles.
In 2016, Lochte was slapped with a 10-month ban from the US Olympic Committee after he and three teammates found themselves at the center of global controversy over an embellished robbery tale at the Olympic Games in Rio that year.
Two years later, Lochte sought treatment for his “serious” addiction to alcohol.
With a shot at Olympic glory in sight, Lochte is grateful to have the support of wife Kayla Rae Reid, and their two young children, son Caiden, 3, and Liv, 1.
Lochte previously told Page Six that had it not been for past difficulties, he may not be the family man he is today.
“I don’t have any regrets, because if that didn’t happen then I don’t know where I’d be, like I probably wouldn’t be married and I probably wouldn’t have kids,” the athlete said last summer. “So I mean it was a way of someone saying, ‘Like, you need to slow down, and you need to get your life in hand.’”
The 2020 Olympic games had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As Lochte told Travel & Leisure in October, the training may be “grueling,” however, “it’s going to be worth it in the end.”