Ryan Lochte has spoken up about the now infamous incident at a Rio de Janeiro gas station.
After Lochte initially said he and three other US swimmers were robbed at gunpoint after a night out in Rio last weekend, investigators in Brazil released security footage showing the swimmers in a confrontation at a gas station over what multiple reports have described as an act of vandalism.
Lochte released a statement on Friday apologizing for his actions, with a brief explanation of that night.
The statement reads:
“I want to apologise for my behaviour 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. I waited to share these thoughts until it was confirmed that the legal situation was addressed and it was clear that my teammates would be arriving home safely.
“It’s traumatic to be out late with your friends in a foreign country — with a language barrier — and have a stranger point a gun at you and demand to let you leave, but regardless of the behaviour of anyone else that night, I should have been much more responsible in how I handled myself and for that I 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. I accept responsibility for my role in this happening and have learned some valuable lessons.
“I am grateful for my USA Swimming teammates and the USOC, and appreciate all of the efforts of the IOC, the Rio ’16 Host Committee, and the people of Brazil who welcomed us to Rio and worked so hard to make sure that these Olympic Games provided a lifetime of great new memories. There has already been too much said and too many valuable resources dedicated to what happened last weekend, so I hope we spend our time celebrating the great stories and performances of these Games and look ahead to celebrating future successes.”
Lochte initially said he and teammates Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz, and Jack Conger were robbed at gunpoint on their way home from a night out. Lochte said men dressed as police officers ordered the four swimmers to get out of a taxi and on the ground and took their money, at one point cocking a gun at Lochte’s forehead.
In the following days, Rio police officials found little evidence of such an incident. Then reports from Rio began trickling out that the events Lochte described actually stemmed from a fight with security at a gas station where he and his teammates stopped to use the bathroom.
Lochte and his teammates reportedly damaged the gas station bathroom and were stopped by security when they attempted to leave. In a confrontation with security over the damaged bathroom, security reportedly pulled their guns on the swimmers and demanded money for the damages. The swimmers paid them in cash and left the gas station.
The situation came to a head on Wednesday night when the police pulled Conger and Bentz off a plane about to leave Rio. Lochte had already returned to the US. Conger and Bentz were questioned about the incident and later reportedly admitted that the robbery story was fabricated.
Bentz and Conger have reportedly returned to the US, and Feigen, who was still in Brazil, reportedly paid a fee of over $10,000 to a Brazilian charity in exchange for his passport. Feigen’s lawyer said Feigen would leave Brazil once the payment was made.
On Thursday, the US Olympic Committee released a statement apologizing to the city of Rio and suggesting there would be punishment yet to come.
It’s unclear whether there will be any more legal action, but the bulk of the mess seems to have been sorted out.
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