USOC CEO promises further action against Ryan Lochte, teammates
Scott Blackmun: 'They let our athletes down, they let Americans down and they really let RIo down'
After admitting to "over-exaggerating" details of what had initially been claimed to be an armed robbery, Ryan Lochte and three of his teammates from the U.S. swimming team are likely to face additional discipline from the United States Olympic Committee.
USOC CEO Scott Blackmun did not specify what action Lochte, Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger will face, but expressed his frustration in clear terms during a Sunday press conference in Rio de Janeiro.
"They let down our athletes," Blackmun said (via the AP). "They let down Americans."
"And they really let down our hosts in Rio who did such a wonderful job, and we feel very badly about that. I think we ended up in the right place in terms of being able to shine a light on what really happened there.''
Lochte, whose first accounts of what happened in the early morning hours of Aug. 14 made world headlines, admitted in a televised interview that aired Saturday night that he "over-exaggerated" the details.
Police have said that the athletes vandalized a gas station bathroom before being confronted by armed security. The group was demanded to pay for the damage by the security.
The story first became public when Lochte's mother spoke to Ben Way of Fox Sports News in Australia. He tweeted out what he had heard after the chance meeting with Ileana Lochte, as recounted by Sports Illustrated. The next day, Lochte gave his side of the story to NBC's Billy Bush, saying that a gun was held to his head and money was demanded. That's when everything spun out of control, only to later be debunked by video surveillance footage.
The aftermath has seen Feigen ordered to pay $10,800 to a local charity by a Rio judge in order to be allowed to leave the country. Conger and Bentz were pulled off of their flights for questioning before being allowed to leave for the U.S. Lochte had already left Rio by then.
It has been the story that took over the Summer Games and overshadowed the accomplishments of other athletes on the field of play.
USA Swimming and the International Olympic Committee could also weigh in on additional discipline.
IOC member and American Anita DeFrance said they may leave the discipline to the USOC in the end.
"They have forever put themselves on the kind of list that you don't want to be remembered for,'' she told the AP. "I wish I could feel sorry for them. Instead I feel that they should have been honest from the beginning. What they did was wrong, but what was even more wrong, it was ridiculous that they didn't stand up and tell the truth. Who would have it hurt to tell the truth? No one. And who did it hurt not to tell the truth? It insulted a whole nation.''
As far as the USOC is concerned, it sounds like a decision could come rather quickly after the delegation returns home.
For Lochte, this could spell the end of his Olympic career. The 32-year-old has expressed a desire to compete in Tokyo in 2020. Depending on the severity of the action taken against him, he may not get that chance.
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