RIO DE JANEIRO — U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte described the events at a Rio de Janeiro gas station as “traumatic” in an apology Friday over his actions.
Lochte had said he and three other American swimmers were robbed Sunday at gunpoint, but police said security guards at the station had used weapons solely to control the men, saying at least one athlete had vandalized the station and another had urinated on the premises.
“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,” Lochte said Friday on Instagram. He also apologized over his behavior.
He also conceded he should have been “much more responsible” in his actions.
“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. I am very proud to represent my country in Olympic competition and this was a situation that could and should have been avoided.”
Police say at least one of the men was involved in vandalizing the gas station and urinating on its premises outdoors.
“I wanted to apologize for my behvior last weekend — for not bring 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,” he said Friday on Instagram.
He said he accepted responsibility for his role in the case and had “learned some valuable lessons.”
He did not, however, roll back on his allegations the swimmers had been robbed at gunpoint by men posing as police.
Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes said Friday he felt “pity and contempt” for the US Olympic swimmers involved in muddled reports of a robbery.
The mayor told journalists in central Rio that he accepted the apology issued by the US Olympic Committee the night before over the conduct of swimmers Ryan Lochte, James
Feigen, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz.
“I believe that all of us need to accept the apologies of the US Olympic Committee, the same way our Olympic Committee would have had to apologize if the assault had occurred. The apologies have been more than accepted,” he said.
Police say at least one of the men vandalized a gas station and urinated on the premises outdoors as the four stopped there in the early hours of Sunday morning and handed over money to armed security guards to pay for the damage.