Ryan Lochte Apologises for Fake Mugging Claims
American swimmer Ryan Lochte has tendered an apology for not being “more careful and candid” after claims over the weekend that he and three of his teammates were robbed at gunpoint in Rio.
His apology comes after widespread criticism in the media and an official statement from the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) describing the behaviour of the quartet as “unacceptable”.
Lochte, Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger initially claimed they were robbed as they travelled back to the athletes’ village after a party early Sunday – but investigations by Brazil authorities revealed their story to be a fabrication.
The foursome had been confronted by armed guards after smashing up a petrol station toilet – breaking a door, mirror and soap dispenser in a drunken rage, as revealed by video footage provided by Rio police, Sky writes.
Lochte, 32, then took to Instagram Friday to apologise for what he described as a “traumatic” experience, claiming he’d learned some “valuable lessons”
“I want to apologize for my behavior last weekend – for not being more careful and candid in how I described events of that early morning,” Lochte, who returned to the United States on Monday, wrote on Instagram.
“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…”
“The situation “could and should have been avoided.”
Bentz and Conger, who were removed from their flight Wednesday, have returned to the US after further probe by the police, while Feigen had agreed to pay $11, 000 to avoid probe.
The USOC said they’ll further review the matter with the possibility of punitive measures for the athletes.
Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes accepted the USOC’s apology and said the swimmers’ behaviour did not represent the spirit of the other US athletes, while spokesman for the city, Mario Andrada said the swimmers deserved “a break”.
“They are competing under gigantic pressure. Let’s give these kids a break,” he said.
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