Ryan Lochte calls incident 'traumatic' in public apology to Brazil, Olympics
The U.S. swimmer issued a statement Friday morning on the incident from last weekend
The story about what happened to Ryan Lochte and his Team USA swimming teammates early Sunday morning in Rio de Janeiro is becoming more clear.
What we know is that the incident occurred at a gas station in Rio, as shown by video evidence. Police say at least one member of the group containing Lochte, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen kicked down a bathroom door and urinated on the premises. That sparked an argument with armed security guards at the gas station, who then stopped the swimmers as they tried to get into their cab and demanded that they give them money for damages.
That is a bit of a different story than the original, which had the team's cab stopped by people pretending to be police who then pulled a gun on them, including placing a gun to Lochte's forehead.
Lochte is the only one that was not still in Brazil on Wednesday when authorities began raising questions about the original story and wanted to speak with the four swimmers, but he has finally released a public statement, via his Instagram account, apologizing for the incident.
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 I 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.
I am grateful for my USA Swimming teammates and the USOC, and appreciate all of the efforts of the IOC, the Rio '16 Host Committee, and the people of Brazil who welcomed us to Rio and worked so hard to make sure that 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 I hope we spend our time celebrating the great stories and performances of these Games and look ahead to celebrating future successes.
Lochte doesn't retract his original story in the apology, but notes that he was not "careful and candid" in describing the events that transpired. Also of note in Lochte's statement is that it appears the legal case has been closed and the other three American swimmers have been allowed to travel back home to the United States.
"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," said Lochte.
Hopefully this brings to a close the strangest Olympic situation in recent memory.
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