U.S. Olympic Committee Issues Apology To Brazil

(Photo: Instagram / @RyanLochte)

The United States Olympic Committee has issued an apology in the wake of the controversy surrounding Ryan Lochte and fellow swimmers allegedly being robbed at gunpoint.

The US swimmers claimed that during a taxi ride back to the Olympic village, the foursome was robbed at gunpoint early on Sunday morning. The statement offered by the USOC - issued by USOC CEO Scott Blackmun - seems to side with the Brazilian authorities who stated that the investigation indicates that Lochte's story was a fabrication. While the swimmers did have an altercation with a security guard at the gas station, they were not held up at gunpoint and robbed like Lochte reported to the police.

Lochte, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger have all returned to the United States, but have not given a public statement as of yet. According to the USOC's apology statement to Brazil, Bentz and Conger discussed the incident with the local authorities as their teammate James Feigen has now given a revised statement in the hopes of having his passport released.

Ryan Lochte's lawyer declined to comment, but he did however mention to ABC News that "a gun was pointed at the swimmers and they were forced to get out of their cab and give up their money." He continued, "No matter what happened at that gas station, the swimmers were robbed by people with a gun appearing to be law enforcement. No matter what country you are in that is robbery and robbery is a serious crime."

Here is the USOC statement in entirety:

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.'

Do you think the U.S. Olympic committee was right to issue an apology to Brazil?


[H/T People]