U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte has issued an apology for claiming he was robbed at gunpoint early Sunday morning after a night of partying, when in actuality he and three teammates were detained at gunpoint after vandalizing a Rio gas station.
According to USA Today’s Christine Brennan, an apology was the only way for Lochte to avoid a lifetime ban by USA Swimming, the sport’s governing body in this country. Lochte, a 12-time Olympic medalist who has competed in four Olympic Games, had said before last weekend’s events that “I’m not done with this sport” and that he would again swim competitively for the United States, a tall order at age 32.
In his apology, Lochte did not go so far as to admit he made up the robbery tale. He instead used carefully parsed words to admit a lapse in judgment. On his Instagram page, Friday’s apology sits two squares to the left of an earlier post in which he writes “it is true that my teammates and I were the victims of a robbery early Sunday morning.”
Earlier Friday, the attorney for Jimmy Feigen — one of the three U.S. swimming teammates who were with Lochte on the night in question — announced that his client will pay about $10,800 to an unnamed Brazilian charity and then leave the country.
Lochte, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger already had flown back to the United States.
TMZ reported Friday morning that all four swimmers told the same robbery tale — that they were in a cab when robbers posing as police stopped them and demanded cash — when interviewed Sunday by U.S. Olympic Committee officials.