1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Ryan Lochte issues apology over behavior in Rio

August 19, 2016

US swimmer Ryan Lochte has apologized on social media after he claimed to have been robbed at gunpoint in Rio with three teammates. Police maintain a very different version of events and the IOC has launched a probe.

Olympiade Rio Schwimmen Ryan Lochte
Image: Getty Images/M. Hazlett

Ryan Lochte has issued an apology following the events that occurred on Sunday at the Rio Olympics, but that has not stopped the International Olympic Committee setting up a disciplinary commision to look into the saga.

"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," he said.

Lochte originally claimed that he and three teammates - James Feigen, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz - had been robbed at gunpoint by men posing as police while on their way back to the Olympic Village.

Police tell a different tale

Police have dismissed this version of events, also releasing CCTV footage that appears to undermine the story. Rio authorities believe that the four swimmers actually arrived at a gas station, where one of them proceeded to vandalize a bathroom.

They were then confronted by uniformed security guards, who displayed their weapons and asked for compensation for the damage before allowing the athletes to leave.

US Olympic Committee chief Scott Blackmun also clarified the incident involving the swimmers, apologizing for a "distracting ordeal."

"As we understand it, the four athletes left France House early in the morning of August 14 in a taxi headed to the Olympic Village," Blackmun said.

"They stopped at a gas station to use the restroom, where one of the athletes committed an act of vandalism. An argument ensued between the athletes and two armed gas station security staff, who dislayed their weapons, ordered the athletes from their vehicles and demanded the athletes provide a monetary payment."

Having paid, Blackmun said, they were permitted to leave.

Language barrier?

Lochte referred again to the gun in his apology, claiming confusion owing to his group's inability to speak Portuguese.

"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," he said.

Lochte said that he had waited to comment further on the issue until he was sure that his three teammates could travel home. Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz had their passports released and were allowed to leave Brazil after being questioned by investigators.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Feigen reportedly agreed a deal to donate money to a local charity in exchange for his release without criminal prosecution. He also provided a revised statement to police.

The relay gold medal winner, who was the first of the four to return to the US, said he had 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."

Reuters later reported that an IOC official had confirmed the four were facing an IOC disciplinary commission.

lsb/msh (AFP, AP, Reuters)