Ryan Lochte has finally broken his silence, apologizing for his “behavior” in Rio following police claims that he and fellow U.S. swimmers James Feigen, Jack Conger, and Gunnar Bentz fabricated a story about being robbed at gunpoint.
In a statement posted on Twitter and Instagram, the Olympic medalist says he’s sorry “for not being more careful and candid” when explaining what happened during the alleged robbery last weekend. Lochte claimed that he and three teammates were robbed in a taxi while heading to the Olympic Village on Sunday morning by two men with guns and badges.
Brazilian police said Thursday that Lochte and his teammates were not robbed at gunpoint, as they had insisted, but instead vandalized a gas station bathroom and got into a confrontation with an armed security guard.
Lochte said in the statement released today that he was traumatized by the incident, which Brazilian authorities have disputed.
“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 money to let you leave, but regardless of the behavior of anyone else that night, 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,” he said.
Rio Civil Police Chief Fernando Veloso said Thursday that one of the security guards at the gas station had pointed a firearm at the American swimmers in order to control one of them and demand payment for property damages, but didn’t use excessive force.
Bentz and Conger arrived in the United States on Friday morning; Lochte had returned home on Tuesday.
The U.S. Olympic Committee also apologized on Thursday night.
“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,” the statement read. “We will further review the matter, and any potential consequences for the athletes, when we return to the United States.”
Read Lochte’s full apology below.
“I want 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. 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 money to let you leave, but regardless of the behavior of anyone lese 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.”
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