Ryan Lochte has finally spoken out about the alleged robbery that he and three fellow competitive swimmers, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen claimed took place in Rio last week. Following reports that the Olympic athletes fabricated the story after the Brazilian police found very little to support their claims, the gold medallist took to social media to apologise for his part in the controversy.
In a note posted to Instagram, the star wrote a long message detailing why he had remained silent on the matter until now, saying: "I want to apologise for my behaviour 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.
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Ryan shared a statement on Instagram
"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."
The swimmer reasserted his original claims that a gun had been held to his head, saying: "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 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."
The group were spotted leaving a petrol station on CCTV
He concluded by saying that it was "a situation that could and should have been avoided" and that he "accepts responsibility" for his role.
The four members of the US swimming team originally claimed that they had been robbed at gunpoint before a video of the group having an altercation at a petrol station where they had broken a bathroom door emerged. A Brazilian police officer told The New York Times: "Unfortunately, the swimmers told one lie after another. We've been able to determine that there was no armed assault."