- US team swimmer Ryan Lochte apologized for “over-exaggerating” Rio robbery claims
- Lochte previously claimed that he and 3 other teammates were robbed at gunpoint after competing at the Olympics
- Lochte might be facing possible criminal charges in Brazil
American swimmer and six-time gold medalist Ryan Lochte is in the middle of controversies after Rio police questioned the validity of his story about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro where he and his team were competing for the 2016 Olympics.
Lochte previously claimed that he and three of his teammates were robbed when men, posing as policemen, forced their cab to pull over and were held at gunpoint. However, police said there were inconsistencies in the men’s account, in addition to a CCTV footage showing Lochte and his group vandalizing a petrol station.
A Rio judge ordered the athletes’ passports be seized and will not be allowed to leave the country. Although Lochte had already left, the other three swimmers— Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen — underwent questioning in Rio police stations.
Due to Lochte’s false reports, the athlete might be facing possible criminal charges in Brazil and sanctions from USA Swimming and International Olympic Committee, which raise questions about his return to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and whether his nervous sponsors will continue to fund him, as per an article published by National Post.
In an interview with Matt Lauer aired by NBC, the 32 year-old Olympic swimmer admitted fabricating his robbery claims and apologized for the mess.
“That’s why I’m taking full responsibility for it, is because I over-exaggerated that story and if I had never done that, we wouldn’t be in this mess,” Lochte said.
Lochte explained that their intoxication and guards at the gas station drawing guns at him and the team caused fear and confusion.
“It’s how you want to make it look like. Whether you call it a robbery, whether you call it extortion, or us paying just for the damages, like, we don’t know,” Lochte explained. “All we know is that there was a gun pointed in our direction, and we were demanded to give money.”
The athlete expressed remorse for the controversy causing to overshadow the Olympic events.
“They put on a great games. The people of Rio or Brazil, the authorities, everyone there put on a great games. And my immature behavior tarnished that a little, and I don’t want that,” Lochte said. “I’m just really sorry and I hope they can accept my apology.”