Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte opposes athletes who ‘disgrace’ American flag on the podium

12-time Olympic medalist and world record holder Ryan Lochte says he doesn’t stand behind sports figures who “disgrace” their country’s flag for political reasons.

In a recent interview on “Varney & Co.,” the professional swimmer said:

“Everyone has their own right to speak up on their own terms, but if it’s anything on disgracing the flag, I don’t commend that.”

The athlete’s comments come after Team USA hammer and weight thrower Gwen Berry turned her back on the podium as the national anthem played during the U.S. track and field trials and the U.S. women’s soccer team kneeled for Black Lives Matter at their opening Olympics game against Sweden.

“I’m American, I love America,” Lochte went on to say, “so if it was me, I definitely wouldn’t [protest], but that’s just me.”

 

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Lochte told Stuart Varney at FOX Business that he’s disappointed he wasn’t able to qualify for the Olympics this year.

“We’re watching the opening ceremonies and like, tears were going down my eyes,” he said. “This is the one Olympics that I wanted the most. And I fell short.”

Recently, political figures and activist groups alleging human-rights abuses against minorities in China have called for a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics games in Beijing, while others have called for a boycott due to China’s lack of transparency regarding the Covid situation.

The Beijing Games are set for February 4, 2022, which is only 6 months after the postponed Summer Olympics in Japan are to conclude.

Lochte said the games should take place no matter what as long as everyone is being kept safe.

“I know how hard being an athlete, working for four years to make the Olympic team, is. And I don’t want to see those dreams fall short for athletes,” he explained.

Even though he fell short for the Olympics, Lochte has big plans for the future.

He is set to compete in the World Cup meets and when asked whether he will try for the 2024 Summer Olympics he said it’s still early to tell but his spirits remain high.

“I always said I would quit swimming once I stop having fun, and I’m just finding so much joy in the sport now that I don’t know if I’m ever going to stop.”

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