Ryan Lochte issued a statement on Friday where he apologized for his “behavior” last weekend, citing language barriers and being out late in a foreign country as contributing factors to the international incident.
Lochte said he is sorry for “for not being more careful and candid in how I described the events.”
Read the full statement below:
“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.”
Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes said Friday he felt “pity and contempt” for the US Olympic swimmers involved in muddled reports of a robbery.
The mayor told journalists in central Rio that he accepted the apology issued by the US Olympic Committee the night before over the conduct of swimmers Ryan Lochte, James Feigen, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz.
“I believe that all of us need to accept the apologies of the US Olympic Committee, the same way our Olympic Committee would have had to apologize if the assault had occurred. The apologies have been more than accepted,” he said.
Police say at least one of the men vandalized a gas station and urinated on the premises outdoors as the four stopped there in the early hours of Sunday morning and handed over money to armed security guards to pay for the damage.
Lochte earlier said the men were robbed at gunpoint. He has not taken back that claim.
The statement posted on Facebook said that the decision was made in a court appearance to answer police accusations that Feigen and fellow swimmer Ryan Lochte had made false claims that they were robbed.
Feigen was among four US swimmers who Lochte said had been robbed at gunpoint by men posing as police officers at a gas station in Rio de Janeiro, a story that police maintain is false.