U.S swimmer Ryan Lochte has become a celebrity of some sort but not for the medals he won in Rio, Brazil.
The athlete claimed he and his three other buddies were returning home from a party Saturday night when they were robbed at gunpoint by a group of men who looked like the police–because they showed police badges before asking them to lie flat on the ground.
Then their money was taken away, leaving them with only phones. Blatant lie.
Image: U.S swimmer Ryan Lochte who claimed he and other three members of the team were robbed at gunpoint on Saturday.
The attack attracted wide criticisms and led to what the media [those who believed Lochte’s story] called “insecurity” at the Olympic event.
However, after the Brazilian police started investigations to prove that the swimmers were not robbed as they claimed, Lochte quickly left the country as if he knew what was coming.
His other friends were arrested at the airport later. Their passports were seized by Brazilian authorities.
The swimmer who beat Michael Phelps to gold at the 200m freestyle in Rio has apologized for his behavior surrounding the late night incident at a Rio de Janeiro gas station, saying he should have been more careful and candid about how he described what happened.
Lochte said in a lengthy post on Instagram Friday that he was apologizing for his role in taking the focus away from other Olympic athletes, maintaining his earlier claims that a stranger pointed a gun at him and demanded for money to let him leave.
The 12-time medalist however, admits he should have handled himself more responsibly.
Brazil police have said Lochte lied by saying he and three other swimmers were robbed, after they had vandalized a gas station bathroom and were confronted by security guards.
James Feigen [one of the claimants] was slapped with a fine of an estimated $10,800 by the court before they let him leave the country on Friday.
According to information announced via television channel Globo, Feigen was accused of “communicating a false crime” and after testifying for four hours before the court, Feigen agreed to pay the set fine.
The money will go towards a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that teaches judo to children and teenagers in a Rio de Janeiro slum, Xinhua news agency reported.
Feigen, along with his teammates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and 12-time Olympic medal winner Ryan Lochte testified to having been attacked in the early hours of Sunday morning while returning to the Olympic Village in a taxi after attending a party.
Here’s what Lochte said:
“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 am sorry to my teammates, my fans, my fellow competitors, my sponsors, and 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.”
Image shows a few headlines from American tabloids.