Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte is apologizing for his actions in Rio last week.
Though he first claimed he had been robbed at gunpoint, video surfaced proving that Lochte and teammates James Feigen, Gunnar Bentz, and Jack Conger had actually stopped at a gas station in Rio where, the United States Olympic Committee confirmed in a statement, one of them vandalized a restroom before the group attempted to leave. They were detained, paid a small amount of money for the damages, and left.
After news broke that they had allegedly been robbed, Brazilian authorities began suspecting that Lochte had fabricated the story, going so far as to pull Bentz and Conger off a plane before they could leave Brazil. Lochte had already returned to the U.S., where he continued to maintain they had been robbed.
In the face of overwhelming evidence and admissions by his teammates, Lochte’s story has changed.
On Friday morning, Lochte wrote on Instagram, “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. 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.”
Though he apologized and took responsibility for his mistakes, he still affirmed that he was held at gunpoint. He wrote, “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 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. I accept responsibility for my role in this happening and have learned some valuable lessons."
The 32-year-old also showed his appreciation for the Olympic Committee, his teammates, and the people of Brazil. He closed his apology with, “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.”
The night before, the USOC said in a statement, “The behavior of these athletes is not acceptable, nor does it represent the values of Team USA or the conduct of the vast majority of its members. We will further review the matter, and any potential consequences for the athletes, when we return to the United States. On behalf of the United States Olympic Committee, we apologize to our hosts in Rio and the people of Brazil for this distracting ordeal in the midst of what should rightly be a celebration of excellence.”