“We obviously accept Lochte’s apologies. However, we think the Brazilian people were hurt by their [swimmers] attitude. It was clear that much of the population felt humiliated by this false robbery claim and people worried that the image of Brazil was damaged by this incident,” Mario Andrada, the Rio Committee’s communications director, says in a Portuguese statement obtained by Us Weekly. “But, as we say in Brazil, ‘A lie has got short legs.’ And the population should be proud of our image around the world.”
Additionally, Andrada says they accept the apology of the United States Olympic Committee.
As previously reported, the 32-year-old athlete claimed that he and his three teammates — Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger — were robbed at gunpoint at a gas station in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday. Brazilian officials investigated the situation but found no evidence that the incident occurred. During a press conference on Thursday, Civil Police Chief Fernando Veloso said that the men had actually vandalized the gas station and that “there was no robbery.”
Lochte returned to the States and his passport was not seized. The other men, however, were detained at a Rio airport and questioned before they were allowed to fly home.
The United States Olympic Committee apologized for the situation on Thursday. Lochte broke his silence about the matter the next morning, on Friday. He explained that he wanted to make sure his teammates arrived home safely before he spoke out.
“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,” he wrote in an Instagram post. “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 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,” he continued. “I accept responsibility for my role in this happening and have learned some valuable lessons.”