Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte has apologized for his initial version of an incident he described on NBC. Lochte said he and three of his teammates were robbed at gunpoint. The report was picked up and broadcast on many other airways. In his apology, Lochte said he should have been more “careful and candid” about his description of the incident, which occurred in Rio de Janeiro (Rio) after the Olympic swimming competition ended.
Lochte’s original version of the late night incident was, “We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing, just a police badge and they pulled us over. They pulled out their guns…And then this guy pulled out his gun, cocked it, put it to my forehead…He took my money, he took my wallet—he left my cellphone, he left my credentials.”
This story began to unravel when Rio investigators could find no evidence to substantiate it. They became suspicious when video showed the swimmers returning to the athlete’s village wearing watches, which they said would have most likely been taken in a robbery. A security video from a gas station and inspection by employees there showed the station had been partially vandalized by the swimmers: a poster had been pulled from the wall and dropped on the ground, a door to a restroom had been broken, and a soap dispenser and a mirror in a restroom had been broken.
The police were called, and the security guards tried to get the swimmers to wait until they arrived. Some employees offered to interpret between English and Portuguese. However, the men wanted to leave, so they paid about $53 and left. A police official said two guards did point guns at the swimmers.
In his apology, Lochte said, “I accept responsibility for my role in this happening and have learned some valuable lessons.” Lochte’s attorney told the New York Times that surveillance video corroborated the “primary events” of Lochte’s version of the incident.
Lochte won a gold medal in Rio in a relay race.