“We all understand they let down our athletes and they let down Americans, and they really let down our hosts in Rio,” Blackmun said. “We feel very badly about that. We will have further action on that when we get back to the United States.”
Blackmun arrived at the news conference hoping to answer questions about Team USA’s dominance at the Rio Olympics, but was instead met with questions about the incident last Sunday in which Lochte initially claimed he and his teammates were robbed at gunpoint. The episode proved to be a dark mark in what was otherwise a successful Olympics for the United States.
“We all understand that they let down our athletes. They let down Americans,” Blackmun said. “And they really let down our hosts in Rio who did such a wonderful job, and we feel very badly about that. I think we ended up in the right place in terms of being able to shine a light on what really happened there.”
Lochte originally portrayed himself, Jimmy Feigen, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz as victims of an armed robbery at a gas station by thieves posing as cops, who he later found out were armed guards. Lochte said he thought that they were being robbed when the guards showed their guns, but according to Brazilian police, the security guards said they were merely asking for the swimmers to pay for the vandalism they caused.
The 32-year-old Lochte eventually apologized during a national televised interview that aired Saturday, while admitting that he “over-exaggerated” the story.
“If I had never done that, we would never be in this mess,” Lochte told NBC’s Matt Lauer. “Those guys would never be in Rio — or were in Rio. None of this would’ve happened. It was my immature behavior.”
Lochte also told Lauer that he was “still intoxicated” during the interview with NBC’s Billy Bush the morning after the incident.
USA Swimming and the International Olympic Committee both could sanction Lochte, according to The Associated Press. IOC member Anita DeFrantz told the AP that it’s possible that Olympic officials could let the USOC handle the matter.
“They have forever put themselves on the kind of list that you don’t want to be remembered for,” DeFrantz told the AP. “I wish I could feel sorry for them. Instead I feel that they should have been honest from the beginning. What they did was wrong, but what was even more wrong, it was ridiculous that they didn’t stand up and tell the truth.
“Who would have it hurt to tell the truth? No one. And who did it hurt not to tell the truth? It insulted a whole nation.”