US Swimmer Ryan Lochte Apologizes for Fabricated Robbery Story
“I wanted to apologize for my behavior last weekend—for not being more careful and candid in how I described the events of that early morning and for my role in taking the focus away from the many athletes fulfilling their dreams of participating in the Olympics,” he wrote on Aug. 19.
He continued, “I should have been much more responsible in how I handled myself and for that am sorry to my teammates, my fans, my fellow competitors, my sponsors, and the hosts of this great event. I am very proud to represent my country in Olympic competition and this was a situation that could and should have been avoided.”
“And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, ‘Get down,’ and I put my hands up,” Lochte told Matt Lauer of NBC the following day. “I was like ‘Whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet—he left my cell phone, he left my credentials.”
However, the story of the incident began to fall apart after investigators found inconsistencies in the swimmers’ accounts of what transpired that night.
A warrant revealed that Lochte gave a different story from one of his teammates in a deposition, where he said he was robbed of $400 by one armed robber. However, Feigen said they were robbed by several robbers, but only one was armed. Video footage showed the men returning to the Olympic Village at a different time than originally reported and in good spirits.
According to Rio police, the drunken men vandalized a gas station bathroom, were questioned by armed guards, and paid some money for the damages on the spot before they left.
The US Olympic Committee issued an apology to the city of Rio and its citizens.
“On behalf of the United States Olympic Committee, we apologize to our hosts in Rio and the people of Brazil for this distracting ordeal in the midst of what should rightly be a celebration of excellence,” Scott Blackmun, the US Olympic Committee’s CEO, said in a statement.
The U.S. swimmers might have landed on American soil but the saga surrounding the four Olympians’ false claims of a gunpoint robbery appears to be far from over. The foursome could face sanctions from the US Olympic Committee.
“The behavior of these athletes is not acceptable, nor does it represent the values of Team USA or the conduct of the vast majority of its members,” Blackmun said. “We will further review the matter, and any potential consequences for the athletes, when we return to the United States.”