RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 19 (UPI) — U.S. Olympic gold medal winner Ryan Lochte on Friday apologized for his “behavior” related to a scandal involving Brazilian police but stuck to the narrative that he and his fellow swimmers were robbed.
“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 a statement posted on Twitter. “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.”
Lochte and fellow U.S. Olympic swimmers Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger are accused of lying to Brazilian authorities about being robbed at gunpoint to cover up a drunken episode at a gas station. Brazilian police recommended charges be filed against Feigen and Lochte for false reporting of a crime and a judge ordered the seizure of the swimmers’ passports earlier this week.
Lochte left Brazil before authorities seized his passport but Feigen was held back. He will have his passport returned as part of an $11,000 donation agreement, authorities said.
Bentz and Conger were removed from a flight on Wednesday but were allowed to leave Thursday night.
Police say the four swimmers took a taxi back to the Olympic Village after being at a party, but stopped at a gas station on the way and got into an altercation with a security officer there — over damage to a restroom door. The gas station owner said Lochte, who later acknowledged being intoxicated, also urinated on the outer wall before leaving.
Lochte later said he and his fellow swimmers had been robbed of their wallets at gunpoint. In Friday’s message, Lochte maintained he and his friends were robbed.
“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 am sorry to my teammates, my fans, my fellow competitors, my sponsors, and the hosts of this great event,” Lochte wrote.