This year’s Olympics has been full of outstanding athletic feats, but for the past few days, many observers been seized by something that took place outside of any arena. Decorated American swimmer Ryan Lochte stunned the world earlier this week by saying that he had been robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro — but that’s nothing compared to how stunned everyone was when it was revealed that Lochte had actually made the story up to cover up how he and some fellow swimmers had trashed a Brazilian gas station late at night. Now, Lochte has issued an official apology for his actions.
Although at one point it seemed like Brazilian authorities might indict Lochte and his fellow swimmers for falsely reporting a crime, the legal situation appears to have been resolved. In his apology, Lochte noted that he waited to issue a statement until such issues were cleared up.
“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 said in the statement. “It’s traumatic to be out late with your friends in a foreign country — and 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 felow competitors, my sponsors, and the hosts of this great event.”
Lochte had been held at gunpoint in Rio, but it was by gas station security demanding that he and his friends pay for the damages they caused, not bandits taking their wallets. Once the swimmers paid for the cost of their vandalism, they were allowed to leave.
The U.S. Olympic Committee also apologized to the country of Brazil for Lochte’s actions, promising that they would review “potential consequences” for the swimmers.
Read Lochte’s full statement below.