GOLD medal-winning U.S. swimmer RYAN LOCHTE covered himself in glory at the London Olympics, but the Florida athlete carried a heartbreaking family secret into the pool with him.
The 28-year-old hunk’s kid brother Devon lost his chance at Olympic greatness when he was busted for drugs, and his troubled dad Steve has multiple arrests for drunk driving.
Devon, 22, saw his own Olympic dreams go up in smoke on April 2 when he was nailed in Gainesville, Fla., for both possession of marijuana and intent to sell.
“It’s sad because, at one time, Devon was really hoping to become an Olympic swimmer like his big brother,” revealed a source.
Devon had said so himself, telling a reporter in 2009: “We have a silent goal. We want to be in the Olympics on the same relay team. That would be the best.”
And Ryan chipped in: “That would mean the world to me.”
But drugs came between Devon and that dream. Sadly, in their father’s case, the problem was booze, and he was busted for drunk driving three times!
In his first two arrests – in December 1995 and April 2006 – the charges were reduced to reckless driving. But when he was busted again in July 2010 with a blood-alcohol level more than two times the legal limit, he wasn’t so lucky. His license was suspended for six months, he was sentenced to a year of probation and 100 hours of community service, paid a $1,494 fine and had to attend a substance abuse course.
Steve, 60, says he was in a deep depression and admits that he “used alcohol as a crutch.”
Just when it seemed things couldn’t get any worse, Steve and his daughter Kristin were stripped of their jobs as head and assistant swim coaches at Daytona State College. Knocked to his knees, Steve encountered even more trouble when his marriage to wife Ileana collapsed.
“Ryan was devastated,” said the source. “Just as he was training for the Olympics, his family was crumbling. He had long talks with both his parents and was more worried about them than himself.
“But Ryan is a real-life superhero. He’s still managed to win Olympic gold despite a boatload of family problems that would’ve sunk a lesser man.”