US swimmer Ryan Lochte apologises for behaviour in Rio ‘robbery’

The 12-time medallist, who has not been seen in public since he left Brazil, admits on social media that ‘I should have been much more responsible ... and for that I am sorry’

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 August, 2016, 12:26am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 August, 2016, 8:46am

American gold medallist swimmer Ryan Lochte on Friday apologised for his behaviour at the Olympics after being accused by Brazilian police of inventing a story about an armed robbery to cover for some bad behaviour at a petrol station.

“I should have been much more responsible in how I handled myself, and for that am sorry to my teammates,” he said on Instagram.

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Lochte, together with fellow US swimmers Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen, are accused of having fabricated a story about being robbed by gunmen posing as policemen.

Surveillance footage and an investigation by Brazilian authorities showed that they had vandalised a petrol station bathroom and had handed over money to armed security guards who had prevented them from leaving.

Costly lie: US swimmers Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger leave Brazil after robbery scandal, while teammate James Feigen pays US$10,800

In his apology, Lochte, 32, described the night as “traumatic”.

“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.

“But regardless of the behaviour 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 the hosts of this great event.”

Lochte, Bentz and Conger have returned to the United States, while Feigen was still in Brazil on Friday morning. Feigen had agreed to pay US$11,000 to a Brazilian charity, police said. His passport would be released upon providing a receipt.

It was unclear what, if any, agreement Lochte had made with Brazilian authorities. After arriving in North Carolina on Tuesday, the swimmer has not been seen, apart from giving an interview with Matt Lauer on the Today Show, which is yet to be aired.

He ended his apology by saying: “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.”