New developments in the investigation have surfaced as to what really happened early Sunday morning.
RIO DE JANEIRO- Ryan Lochte issued an apology Friday morning on social media for not being “more careful and candid” when it came to the events he described on Sunday. The whole ordeal led to a Brazilian investigation into what has become a fabricated armed robbery story.
According to his tweet, Lochte said he and three fellow swimmers faced a “traumatic” situation when a language barrier and a stranger pointing a gun got involved.
“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,” Lochte said in the statement posted on social media. “I wanted 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.”
According to the New York Times, in sworn statements from the other swimmers, Lochte was described as drunk and unruly. They said he damaged property at a gas station and then later misrepresented what had truly happened.
Of course the fabricated story has sparked quite the debate going well beyond sports. The case has elicited an apology from American Olympic officials and outrage from Brazilians. Locals of the country accuse Lochte of tampering Rio’s reputation as the country held one of the most prestigious international events in Brazil’s history.
The Olympic gold medalist arrived back to the states before the truth was revealed, leaving his teammates to face more questioning in Rio.
On Sunday Lochte and the three teammates- Gunnar Bentz, Jack COnger and James Feigen- claimed to have been robbed in a taxi on their way back to the Olympic Village from a party at Club France. Lochte told NBC’s Matt Lauer on Wednesday in a phone interview that the swimmers had stopped at a gas station to use the bathroom and when they got back in the taxi the driver wouldn’t drive. He said that was when two men approached with guns and badges and told them to get out and get down.
But after further investigation Rio’s Civil Police found the four swimmers had not been robbed. New video showed that one or more of the U.S. Olympians vandalized the bathroom at the gas station, breaking mirrors and damaging doors.
Security at the gas station had asked the taxi not to leave after the athletes refused to stay and pay for the damages. After another person stepped in to intervene the athletes left money, about $55 each, said police.
Bentz, Conger and Feigen were ordered to stay in the country to answer more questions. In two of the swimmers statements- Bentz and Conger- they described public urination, vandalism and other drunken antics by Lochte and mentioned he was in need of calming down during the situation with the armed guards.
A witness, Fernando Deluz, a DJ who was passing through the gas station, was the person that stepped in to intervene and help translate between the two parties to help keep the situation from escalating. He corroborated the testimony of Bentz and Conger.
Deluz was quoted by the New York Times as saying, “There was a moment when the tried to escape, and that’s when the security guard stopped them.” Deluz also said, “At no moment did anyone brush up against them.” He also stated that when employees discussed calling the police, the swimmers pleaded with them not to do so.
Bentz told police that the swimmers tried to leave the gas station after realizing they could get in trouble with the employees witnessing the incident. Two men with guns- the security guards- approached the car and used their weapons to prevent them from leaving. The swimmers then got out of the car and were told by the guards to sit down.
According to the New York Times, “Ryan got up and began talking to the men,” Bentz told investigators. Bentz said, he “asked Ryan to calm down and sit down again.”
Conger told investigators that he had described the event to his mother while having breakfast with Feigen. That was when he saw Lochte’s accounts on the news and he “perceived that Ryan was lying about what had happened.”
On Thursday Bentz and Conger finished their questioning and flew out. Feigen is still resolving his charges, which resulted in paying a fine.
According to USA Today, Lochte said he wanted to wait until his teammates issues were resolved before issuing a statement. He apologized for taking focus from the Games and said it should now return to the athletes who are still competing.
Lochte’s apology was posted to his Twitter and Instagram account:
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