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Olympic Games 2016

US Swimmer Ryan Lochte takes "full responsibility" for Rio scandal, apologises on television

US Swimmer Ryan Lochte gives an interview to Globo TV in New York City on Saturday.
US Swimmer Ryan Lochte gives an interview to Globo TV in New York City on Saturday. Globo TV via Reuters

The star American swimmer issued an apology on American television on Saturday evening, stating he “overexaggerated” a story about being robbed at gunpoint along with three other US swimmers in Rio.

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US Olympian Ryan Lochte said he took “full responsibility,” for vandalising a gas station bathroom, then giving false information to police following the incident, including a fake story about him and three other gold-medal winning US swimmers being held at gunpoint.

Following the incident, Lochte managed to get on a flight back to the US, while his three companions, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen, were forced to stay in Brazil for questioning after suspicion arose that the statements, which made international headlines, were false.

“That’s why I’m taking full responsibility for it,” Lochte told NBC news on Saturday evening. “I overexaggerated that story and if I had never done that, we wouldn’t be in this mess.”

Lochte had already apologised on Saturday for falsely stating the swimmers were mugged by robbers acting as police while on their way home from a party.

It wasn’t until investigators publicly stated the story was made up that Lochte began to change his story.

Police stated the four were detained by the gas station’s security and forced to pay a fine after drunkenly vandalising the bathroom, including urinating on the walls.

While Lochte was able to make a quick escape back to the US, his three teammates had their passports confiscated by police so they couldn’t leave the country in order to be questioned.

"I wanted to be there, like, I don't want them to think that I left, and left them dry because they were my teammates,” said Lochte.

Lochte has faced international criticism for the incident, with many critics in the US accusing him of representing stereotypical ‘bro’ culture.

The US Olympic Committee has apologised for Lochte and the other swimmers’ antics, and the International Olympic Committee has set up a disciplinary commission to determine whether the swimmers will face any punishment.
 

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