U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte may be one of the world's fastest in the pool, but over the past few days, he's found it impossible to escape the controversy over his story about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio.
Lochte and his teammates claimed that they were at a gas station when a stranger in an unmarked car showed them a police badge before pulling a gun on them and taking their money, according to the Associated Press.
But local authorities said the four swimmers' stories didn't match up and lacked key details. A deeper investigation revealed security footage of the swimmers kicking down the door of the gas station and later returning to the Olympic Village with their allegedly stolen wallets. Police formed a new narrative in which four drunk athletes broke down the door of a locked bathroom after partying late into the night, broke items inside the bathroom, and then became confrontational with two security guards who showed up. The guards pulled out guns and made the swimmers put their hands up when they felt their safety was in jeopardy. Next, the swimmers spoke with the gas station manager, paid for the damage, and left, only to later fabricate a story about being robbed.
Now, Lochte has written the following apology on Twitter:
"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.
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 host 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.
I am grateful for my USA Swimming teammates and the USOC, and appreciate all of the efforts of the IO, the Rio '16 Host Committee, and the people of Brazil who welcomed us to Rio and worked so hard to make sure these Olympic Games provided a lifetime of great new memories.
There has already been too much said and too many valuable resources dedicated to what happened last weekend, so we hope we spend our time celebrating the great stories and performances of these Games and look ahead to celebrating future successes."
While not admitting that he lied, outright saying that a robbery didn't happen, or providing new details of his side of the story, Lochte did say he was accepting responsibility for what happened.
Lochte had already left Brazil when police tried to detain him, but his teammates were still in the country and were taken into custody. Two swimmers, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, were released. The other swimmer, Jimmy Feigen, was released after making a $10,800 payment.
What do you think actually happened?