Rio 2016: Ryan Lochte Apologizes to Brazilians for Robbery Story
Ryan Lochte has said sorry to Brazilians after “over-exaggerating” claims he was robbed at gunpoint while at the Rio Olympics.
The Olympic swimmer had claimed that he and a group of three other US swimmers had been robbed at a gas station.
However, CCTV footage contradicted Ryan Lochte’s story, showing the men had vandalized the gas station.
Ryan Lochte told Globo TV, Brazil’s largest broadcaster, that he had not lied over what happened.
“I wasn’t lying to a certain extent,” he said.
“I over-exaggerated what was happening to me.”
He added that he was sorry, saying: “Brazil doesn’t deserve that.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has set up a disciplinary commission to investigate the incident and the four swimmers’ behavior.
News of the alleged robbery emerged through Ryan Lochte’s mother on August 14.
Ryan Lochte then gave an account of the events, saying he and the other swimmers were returning by cab from a club in the early hours of the morning when they were robbed at gunpoint by men who forced the vehicle to pull over.
However, Brazilian police said a day later that there were inconsistencies in the men’s accounts.
On August 17, two of the swimmers, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, were taken off a US-bound plane at Rio de Janeiro airport and questioned by police.
Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger were eventually allowed to leave Brazil. Another swimmer, Jimmy Feigen agreed to pay $11,000 to a Brazilian charity after the incident.
On August 19, Jack Conger said in a statement that Ryan Lochte had pulled a metal advertisement in a frame to the ground, but Conger said he was “unsure why”.
Jack Conger also said Ryan Lochte began yelling at guards for an unknown reason. The men then agreed to pay the guards for the damage.
Rio de Janeiro’s mayor Eduardo Paes had told media he felt nothing but “shame and contempt” towards the athletes for their portrayal of what happened.
In a separate interview with NBC, part of which also aired on August 20, Ryan Lochte said he felt “hurt” watching footage of his team-mates being taken off their plane.
Ryan Lochte had already returned to the US from Brazil.
“I mean, I let my team down and you know, I don’t want them to think I left them out to dry,” he said.
However, Ryan Lochte maintained the men were threatened and made to pay: “Whether you call it a robbery or whether you call it extortion or us just paying for the damages, we don’t know. All we know is that there was a gun pointed in our direction and we were demanded to give money.”