Ryan Lochte gave more details about his Rio scandal during an interview with Good Morning America on Tuesday, August 30.
Earlier this month, the Team USA swimmer, 32, claimed that he and his teammates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen were robbed at gunpoint at a gas station in Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian officials later announced in a press conference that a robbery never took place and that the group of men actually vandalized the property. Lochte admitted on GMA that he did pull down a poster, but said he never entered the bathroom, contrary to reports.
“It was locked, so we couldn’t go in there at all, so the story about me vandalizing the bathroom is absurd and never happened,” he said on Tuesday. “The thing that I told that wasn’t true was having the gun pointed to my forehead and cocked. That was — that was overexaggerated.”
“We’re just trying to get this over with,” he continued. “I mean, it’s been dragged out way too long and there’s bigger issues that this world is facing.”
Lochte, who has lost several sponsors in the incident’s aftermath, explained why he initially exaggerated the situation. “I think it was still hours after the incident. I’m not one to make excuses, but I mean, I was still intoxicated. I was still going through the emotions of, you know, having a gun pulled on me and, I mean, I just — I’m human. I made a mistake and that’s something I’m going to have to live with,” he said.
Amid the controversy, Lochte’s teammates were detained at a Rio airport for questioning before they were allowed to return home. Feigen even paid roughly $11,000 to a Brazilian charity so that he could leave.
“I reached out to Jimmy, saying, ‘I know you had to pay that fine. You know, it is my fault.’ I’m taking full responsibility for this, and I will pay that back if he will let me,” Lochte said on Tuesday. “I reached out to everyone.”
Lochte isn’t staying out of the spotlight following the incident. As previously reported, the athlete is joining season 23 of Dancing With the Stars and is partnered with returning pro Cheryl Burke.
“I’m starting from scratch. This will be fun, though,” Lochte said on GMA. “I’m going to treat this like sort of going into the Olympics. You’re training for so long and you have that one shot to put it all out there.”
In a separate interview with USA Today, he said: “It’s just an amazing show, and hopefully when I’m on it, people will watch and enjoy the show and talk about the show. Hopefully, it changes everyone’s mind-set and just focuses on something different.”
Watch Lochte on GMA in the video above.