Star says sorry for immature behavior in interview with NBCs Matt Lauer, and gives deepest apologies to the people of Brazil
A tearful Ryan Lochte has said sorry to his US swimming team-mates, his family and the people of Brazil for a stupid mistake at a Rio gas station that overshadowed the final week of the Olympic Games.
The six-time gold medallist also tried to explain why he made up the story of the robbery that never was. I was intoxicated, Lochte said. I was immature, and I made a stupid mistake. Im human, and Im just really sorry.
Lochte, in a lengthy interview with NBCs Matt Lauer that aired on Saturday night, discussed what happened at a Rio gas station a week ago. Lochte initially said he and three fellow US swimmers Gunnar Bentz, James Feigen and Jack Conger had, after a night of partying, been held up at gunpoint and had their possessions taken. But police couldnt find any evidence to support his claims, and as inconsistencies in Lochtes account grew, the story unravelled.
Lauer pressed him on why he didnt tell the truth in the first place.
When you talked to [NBC presenter] Billy Bush on Sunday afternoon, and when you spoke to me on Wednesday, why didnt you tell me the whole truth? Lauer asked.
Lochte said: I left details out, and thats why Im in this mess.
Why did you do that?
I dont know why, Lochte responded. It was still hours after the incident happened. I was still intoxicated. Im not making an excuse, Im not doing that at all, and I shouldnt have said that. I over-exaggerated that part, and the gun was drawn but not at my forehead. It was towards my general direction as you can see in the surveillance video.
At one point in the interview, Lochte became tearful, and admitted he was embarrassed for himself, my family, USA Swimming, the fans, and everyone watching.
Lochte also gave his deepest apologies to the people of Brazil. They put on a great Games. The people of Rio, the people of Brazil, they put on a great Games, and my immature, intoxicated behavior tarnished that a little. And I dont want that. I hope they can accept my apology.
Lauer asked him why he described the incident at the gas station as a robbery. What Im trying to get at is the first version of the story you told, Ryan, was much more about the mean streets of Rio, Lauer told him. And the version were hearing now is much more about a negotiated settlement to cover up some dumb behavior.
And thats why Im taking full responsibility for it, Lochte, wearing a sombre shirt and with hair back to its normal color, said. Because I over-exaggerated that story. And if I had never done that, we wouldnt be in this mess. None of this would have happened. And it was my immature behavior.
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