In what has become one of the biggest scandals of the 2016 Olympics in Rio, swimmer Ryan Lochte has apologized for lying to the public. Lochte, 32, claimed he and three other swimmers were held up by two men posing as police in the Brazilian city of Rio De Janeiro during a night out. Fellow Olympian Michael Phelps also commented on “LochteGate,” as it’s being called. However, the original testimony by Lochte and his fellow swimmers does not tell the entire story, nor is it necessarily the truth at all.
Is It Too Late To Say Sorry?
In a long Instagram post discovered by MSN, Lochte apologized, calling the event a “situation that could have and should have been avoided.” The part of the story Lochte failed to tell was that he and his teammates were intoxicated, and the supposedly fake cops were actually real police officers. During an incident at a gas station, Lochte and the others had claimed they were robbed. Though a court ordered all four swimmers to remain in Rio until an investigation could be carried out, Ryan returned home to the U.S. not long thereafter. However, fellow swimmer Jimmy Feigen remained in Rio.
The apology seemed to be a heartfelt one, and many fans were able to forgive Lochte for his mistakes. However, some believe that what occurred will taint the swimmer’s image and hurt his chances of getting future endorsements. Lochte is currently worth $6 million, and the majority of that comes from celebrity endorsements. Could this mean he might not see any more in the future?
Fox News described the fate of the other swimmers involved in the Rio incident, stating that Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were allowed to leave Rio after testifying, while Jimmy Feigen had to pay in excess of $10,000 to leave the country. Bentz and Conger were apparently jeered as they made their way to the airport Wednesday night.
Thus Spake The USOC
Though the swimmers were all able to return to the U.S., it’s unlikely they will ever be able to compete in future Olympics. The United States Olympic Committee has condemned the actions of their swimmers as they reflect poorly on the U.S. and American Olympic team.
Officials first started to suspect the foursome were lying after there were tiny inconsistencies in their stories. For instance, Lochte framed the narrative as if two security officers had pointed guns at their heads for no reason. However, security footage of a gas station showed that Lochte and his friends were intoxicated and had vandalized the area.
According to Us Weekly, the Rio Committee’s communications director accepted Lochte’s apology, but expressed his feelings that “the Brazilian people were hurt by [Lochte and the others’] attitudes.” Numbeo rates the crime in cities on a scale of 1-100 (1 being lowest) based on user-contributed data, and gives concern over being robbed in Rio a rating of 88. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why Brazilians did not appreciate Lochte falsifying reports of what happened to him. On Instagram, Lochte also expressed his desire to represent the U.S. in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Later on in his apology, Lochte admitted he found it “traumatizing” for someone from a foreign country to point a gun at him and demand money. He highlighted the fact that he did not speak the language and seemed to dislike wandering Rio at night, yet he and his friends chose to do exactly that.
Phelps Fuels Fire
Hello Magazine told the story of Michael Phelps, who, when asked by paparazzi whether Lochte can come out of the scandal harm-free, replied, “We have good people taking care of it, so hopefully.” Phelps didn’t go into detail about who these people were, but presumably either Lochte’s personal team or Team USA’s PR people are handling the media frenzy.
Though he may have just experienced his last Olympic games, Lochte has an extensive history of being in the Olympics even before Rio in 2016. As his page on the U.S. Olympic Committees’ website will tell you, Lochte has been in the Olympics three times in 2004, 2008, and 2012, and has a total of 12 medals (six Gold and three each of Silver and Bronze). It remains to be seen whether Lochte will keep these medals or be stripped of them in the wake of the Rio scandal.
Should Lochte have told the truth about what he did, or possibly even refrained from partying at all? Should the U.S. Olympic Committee defend the swimmer, or apologize for his actions? Chime in and let us know what you think of “LochteGate.”
[Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]