In an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer, Ryan Lochte admitted that he “left details out” from his Rio robbery story that has caused a lot of commotion.
“I over-exaggerated that story. I left details out, and that’s why I’m in this mess,” Lochte told Lauer.
This public confession from Lochte comes close on the heels of his apology on Instagram.
“I want to apologize for my behavior 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.”
Check the actual Instagram post below for Lochte’s entire apology.
Lauer probed Lochte in his interview and asked his views on Rio police’s implication that he (and the three other swimmers) were vandals, and not “victims” — as mentioned by Lochte in his first statement.
Lochte replied, “It’s how you want to make it look like. Whether you call it a robbery or extortion or us paying just for the damages. All we know was there was a gun pointed in our direction and we were demanded to give money.”
Lochte started to tear up during the interview when he was asked how he felt about the fact that his fellow swimmers — Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger — were detained in Rio despite the fact that they didn’t do anything wrong.
“I let my team down and, you know. I wanted to be there. I don’t want them to think I left them and left them out to dry. They’re my teammates and I wanted to be there. I just wanted to make sure they were home safe before I came out to talk.”
To recap, Lochte had returned, along with another teammate involved in the whole incident, James “Jimmy” Feigen, to the U.S. on August 16 just before the Rio police wanted to detain him for questioning.
Lochte also explained to Lauer why he lied about the robbery initially.
“It was hours after the incident happened, when I spoke to Billy Bush, I was still intoxicated. I’m not making that, an excuse. I shouldn’t have said that. I over-exaggerated that part. The gun was drawn, but it wasn’t at my forehead. I definitely had too much to drink that night and I was intoxicated and none of this would have happened if I hadn’t done that”
Lochte explained that they were so frightened after being held at gunpoint that they wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. “We gave them money and we wanted to get out,” he added.
He said, “I don’t want them to look at me, he was a drunk frat boy or whatever. Everyone is watching my immature antics and I’m just I’m embarrassed.”
Lochte also apologized to the people of Rio and lauded them for putting on a “great games.” Lochte was also worried about the impression his actions would create on aspiring young swimmers.
“If they give me that chance I definitely know I can turn this around and become that role model for little kids. I don’t want little kids to look at me for what I just did, for that one night. I don’t want that,” he said.
To recap the entire incident, immediately after the incident on August 14, Lochte told Brazilian authorities that he and fellow teammates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen were robbed at gunpoint at a Rio gas station. However, the story was refuted by the Brazilian authorities. They cited surveillance video and witness testimony to prove that the U.S. swimmers had actually vandalized the gas station restroom. As a result, they had been confronted by security guards, who took out their gun and asked them to pay up for the damages.
[Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images]