Lochte took to the social media site Friday morning to express regret for his behavior and for taking the focus away from the Olympic athletes who were still competing in the games.
“I am grateful for my USA Swimming teammates and the USOC, and appreciate all of the efforts of the IOC, the Rio ’16 Host Committee, an the people of Brazil who welcomed us to Rio and worked so hard to make sure that these Olympic Games provided a lifetime of great new memories. 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.”
On Friday, Team USA Olympic swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Brentz were allowed to return back to the states following interviews with Brazilian authorities concerning claims the pair, plus Ryan Lochte and James Feigen, had been victims of a Sunday morning aggravated robbery while in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the games of the XXXI Olympiad.
During a press conference on Thursday, officials confirmed the story, reportedly spearheaded by Lochte, was a lie.
Lochte claimed he, along with Brentz, Conger and Feigen, were victims of an armed robbery after their taxi was stopped by people impersonating police officers while en route to the Olympic Village following a party. Lochte claimed the individuals demanded their money and other personal belongings.
The Associated Press is reporting Feigen’s lawyer said his client would pay $10,800 and leave Rio on Friday.
The USOC released a statement to People Magazine following the press conference apologizing for the actions of the swimmers:
“Two U.S. Olympic swimmers (Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger) have given statements to local authorities today regarding the incident first reported on Sunday, August 14, 2016. Their passports have been released and they recently departed Rio.
After providing a statement earlier in the week, a third (James Feigen) provided a revised statement this evening with the hope of securing the release of his passport as soon as possible.
Working in collaboration with the U.S. Consulate in Rio, we have coordinated the athletes’ cooperation with local authorities and ensured their safety throughout the process, but we have not seen the full statements provided by Bentz and Conger.
However, we understand that they describe the events that many have seen on surveillance video made publicly available today. As we understand it, the four athletes (Bentz, Conger, Feigen and Ryan Lochte) left France House early in the morning of August 14 in a taxi headed to the Olympic Village. They stopped at a gas station to use the restroom, where one of the athletes committed an act of vandalism. An argument ensued between the athletes and two armed gas station security staff, who displayed their weapons, ordered the athletes from their vehicle and demanded the athletes provide a monetary payment. Once the security officials received money from the athletes, the athletes were allowed to leave.
The behavior of these athletes is not acceptable, nor does it represent the values of Team USA or the conduct of the vast majority of its members. We will further review the matter, and any potential consequences for the athletes, when we return to the United States.
On behalf of the United States Olympic Committee, we apologize to our hosts in Rio and the people of Brazil for this distracting ordeal in the midst of what should rightly be a celebration of excellence.
With three days remaining in the Olympic Games, our primary focus will remain on supporting the athletes who are still competing and celebrating the achievements of those who have finished.”