US swimmer Ryan Lochte issues apology after 'gunpoint robbery' claims
Published 19/08/2016 | 15:38
Ryan Lochte has finally apologised for being at the centre of the diplomatic incident which has overshadowed the second week of the Olympic Games.
The 32-year-old 12-time Olympic medallist claimed he and team-mates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen were stopped by armed robbers posing as police in their taxi back to the athletes' village following a party.
However, Rio police spotted inconsistencies in their initial statements and, following an investigation, civil police chief Fernando Veloso told a press conference that Lochte had lied to cover up a bizarre episode at a petrol station and the presence of two women the group had met at the party who were in a second taxi.
The United States Olympic Committee has condemned the behaviour of the four swimmers involved and promised a review into the incident.
"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," Lochte said in a statement posted on Instagram.
"I waited to share these thoughts until it was confirmed that the legal situation was addressed and it was clear that my team-mates would be arriving home safely.
"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 I am sorry to my team-mates, my fans, my fellow competitors, my sponsors, and the hosts of this great event.
"I am proud to represent my country in Olympic competition and this was a situation that could and should have been avoided. I accept responsibility for my role in this happening and have learned some valuable lessons."