Banned American swimmer Ryan Lochte has claimed he contemplated suicide after sparking controversy by fabricating a robbery during last year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Lochte told ESPN that he felt he was "probably the most hated person in the world" after the Rio 2016 Olympics and revealed he has had suicidal thoughts.
The six-time Olympic gold medallist was among four United States swimmers that initially claimed they had been robbed at gunpoint when returning to the Olympic Village in August before closed circuit television footage emerged of the men vandalising a petrol station following a night out.
Lochte, a member of the American 4x200 metres freestyle relay team which won the gold medal at Rio 2016, was thought to have been the instigator of the incident also involving team-mates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen.
The 32-year-old conceded he "over-exaggerated" the claims but refused to say he had told an outright lie.
He was banned for 10 months following the row, which provoked outrage in Brazil and worldwide.
"There were a couple of points where I was crying, thinking, if I go to bed and never wake up, fine," Lochte said.
"I was about to hang up my entire life."
The American, a 12-time Olympic medallist, also claimed that "people wanted a reason" to hate him.
"You can be at the all-time high and then the next second the all-time low," he added.
"I love being at the Olympics, but I'm the opposite of what you'd expect.
"It's been that way my whole life.
"I don't fit in."
His suspension is due to expire after next month's World Championships in Budapest, due to take place from July 14 until 30.
Lochte, whose partner Kayla Rae Reid is due to give birth to his first child this month, is set to return to competitive action as soon as his ban ends and he has warned the swimming world to "watch out" for him at Tokyo 2020.
"Everything happens for a reason," he added.
"I was done with swimming back in 2013.
"I was drained, wiped out.
"Now I've found a new purpose with my son.
"This fire has been ignited, and it's bigger than ever.
"I'm just so excited because I know what's going to happen in Tokyo.
"Everyone is going to have to watch out."