Brazilian police have denounced Lochte’s account as a fabrication created to cover up for the group’s bad behaviour after a night spent partying until dawn, prompting apologies from both Lochte and the U.S. Olympic Committee this week.
U.S. Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte issued an apology today “for not being more careful and candid” when explaining what happened during an alleged gunpoint robbery in Rio de Janeiro last weekend.
Lochte’s statement came as criticism of him poured in for causing such a huge and unnecessary distraction at the world’s premier sporting event, a competition watched by billions of people.
What started out as a robbery claim by Lochte and teammates, Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen in a suburb of Rio after a night of partying, turned into a full-blown global incident.
Feigen was among four United States swimmers who Lochte said had been robbed at gunpoint by men posing as police officers at a gas station in Rio de Janeiro, a story that police maintain is false. He claims that it was traumatic being in a country with a bunch of friends, where they speak a different language, and someone points a gun at you. “I regret this situation has drawn attention away from the Olympics, which have been hosted so incredibly well by Brazil and its citizens”.
Lochte has since returned to the USA alongside his teammates Conger and Bentz.
Lochte earlier said the men were robbed at gunpoint.
He said Ryan Lochte removed a poster from a nearby wall, which resulted in the swimmers being confronted by two armed security officers.
Lochte, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger already had flown back to the United States.
But Rio police said the story was fabricated. “I should have been much more responsible in how I handled myself”. Lochte said one of the men even pointed a gun to his forehead and robbed the men of their cash.
Lochte left the country before Brazilian officials could detain him, but Feigen, Bentz and Conger were not so lucky.
Surveillance footage and an investigation by Brazilian authorities showed that they had vandalized a gas station bathroom and had handed over money to armed security guards who had prevented them from leaving. He said that under Brazilian law, a donation can be made to avoid criminal prosecution for minor offenses, but did not say what charge was being contemplated.
Ryan Lochte issued a statement on Friday where he apologized for his “behavior” last weekend, citing language barriers and being out late in a foreign country as contributing factors to the global incident.
Police said Feigen, the last of the four swimmers still in Brazil, had agreed at a hearing with a judge on Friday to pay 35,000 reais ($11,000) to a sporting charity after giving false testimony.
The USOC confirmed police accusations, including that one of the swimmers had vandalized the gas station after the group stopped there to use the bathroom during a taxi ride back to the Athletes’ Village from a late-night party in the city.
Conger went on to provide a brief summary of the events last Sunday, which echoed numerous same details provided by Bentz in his statement.