Ryan Lochte cleared of criminal false robbery report charge in Rio incident

An appellate court in Brazil has dismissed a criminal case against the six-time Olympic gold medalist by a 2-1 margin

Ryan Lochte has been cleared of falsely communicating a crime to authorities for his role in vandalizing a gas station with three other US swimmers during the Rio Olympics and telling police saying they were robbed at gunpoint.

An appellate court in Brazil has dismissed a criminal case against the six-time Olympic gold medalist, concluding that Lochte did not break the law in exaggerating the details of the incident, which came to overshadow the final days of the Games last summer.

Lochte and team-mates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen had been out celebrating the end of the swimming competition when the incident took place. Attorneys for the 32-year-old in the US and Brazil had moved to have the case dismissed, but a three-judge panel in a lower court ruled 2-1 to pursue charges, USA Today reported.

That decision was reversed on Thursday by a 2-1 margin, ruling that Lochte did not break a law because it was Rio police who initiated the investigation, adding that Lochtes interview with NBC did not constitute a false report, the newspaper said.

Earlier this week, Lochte returned to USA Swimming competition this week for the first time since his 10-month suspension for the incident.

The new father was schedule to compete at the LA Invitational on the Southern California campus where he trains and now represents Trojan Swim Club, though he withdrew on Friday citing insufficient training due to time spent with his newborn.

Lochte was ineligible to compete at the recent US nationals, which kept him from qualifying for the world championships beginning 23 July in Hungary. His suspension ended 30 June.

After returning from Rio, Lochte moved his training base from North Carolina to Los Angeles, where he appeared on Dancing With the Stars. He became a first-time father last month when son Caiden was born.

Lochtes first meet since Rio was in a Masters competition in April, which wasnt sanctioned by USA Swimming. He won multiple events at the short-course meet in Riverside, California.

Originally published at: http://www.theguardian.com/us