In his own words. Ryan Lochte issued an apology via Instagram on Friday, August 19, for the Rio gas station robbery scandal that made headlines this past week, taking ownership of his actions and restating his version of events from that night.
“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 a post to the social media site. “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.”
Lochte, 32, explained that he and three fellow Team USA swimmers — Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger — were held up at gunpoint at the station, a story that has been questioned by both the International Olympic Committee and the Brazilian police as a result of video surveillance footage and a lack of evidence.
“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,” he continued. “I am very proud to present 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,” he wrote. “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.”
As previously reported, the Olympic gold medalist and his pals were out late on Sunday, August 14, and made a stop at a gas station on their way back to the Olympic Village, where Lochte claimed they were confronted by a group of men posing as police officers.
Brazilian authorities countered that the swimmers were the ones at fault, having vandalized the gas station and leaving before police could get there.
One of the security guards who confronted the athletes told Us Weekly his side of the story on Thursday, August 18, claiming that there was no violent altercation with the swimmers, though the four men appeared to have been drinking when they arrived at the station.
“These guys came here causing trouble … but we did not touch them at all,” the 34-year-old guard told an Us Weekly source via a translator. “There was never any physical contact. I only showed my gun. … I did not order them to lay down on the floor, and the gun was certainly not pointed in anyone’s face. Everything that took place that evening was within the rights of the law.”
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