Michael Phelps says he has reached out to Ryan Lochte, the one swimmer who has been something of a rival to him over the years, after Lochte’s recent scandal in Rio de Janeiro.
“Ryan and I have been teammates forever, and it’s always hard to see a friend and a competitor going through a hard time like this — I know what it feels like. I’ve been through it before,” Phelps said (via People.com).
Phelps, who has battled addiction issues, thinks Lochte, 32, can recover from his “over-exaggeration” about how he and three other U.S. swimmers were robbed. Lochte has suffered repercussions, notably the loss of lucrative sponsorships, since the Aug. 14 incident.
“Hopefully he can come out of this a better person,” Phelps said. “I’ve reached out to him a couple times, and I think he understands a lot. He will be able to grow from this.”
That didn’t keep Phelps from having a laugh, though, when Jimmy Fallon impersonated Lochte at the Video Music Awards.