Ryan Lochte Concedes Alcohol, Immaturity ‘Got Him Into A Mess’

Over-consumption of alcohol and a general lack of maturity on certain levels contributed to the fiasco that has now become synonymous with Ryan Lochte’s name, he conceded to Matt Lauer, regarding the string of events that led to an unfavorable outcome for members of the United States swim team at the Summer Olympics in Rio.

Ryan Lochte apologized to the people of Rio [Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]While being interviewed by Lauer, Lochte began to recant his original story of what happened at that gas station in Rio de Janeiro, stating that the story that had been told to local police — that Lochte and members of his team had been held at gunpoint during an attempted armed robbery by assumed locals at the gas station — has been “greatly exaggerated.” At one point after the event, Lochte even said a man “held a gun aimed at his head” and demanded money, which he claimed to lead to the state that the gas station bathroom was found in — its fixtures destroyed and general destruction, which is now being called defacement of property and vandalism after the armed robbery story failed to hold water, according to the AP. That’s not the same story local police told — they say the American swimmers were simply intoxicated and unruly, leading to destructive behavior in the bathroom. They have been asked to pay for damages.

Lochte says that although he continued to tell the armed-robbery story, he was still intoxicated while doing so, and is regretful for his untrue statements. He said it was difficult because the situation was open to interpretation, and everyone had a different one.

”It’s how you want to make it look like. Whether you call it a robbery or whether you call it extortion or us just paying for the damages, we don’t know. All we know is that there was a gun pointed in our direction and we were demanded to give money. We just wanted to get out of there.”

When Matt Lauer asked him if they were “striking a deal” with Rio police, Lochte confirmed he felt this was the case. However, he added that he had told a story about the “mean streets of Rio” that is not entirely accurate. He said that this was partially to cover up for dumb, intoxicated, and immature behavior. That’s why he said that regardless of what stories are being told, and how much of each may be true, he is taking responsibility for the only part he can: his words and behavior.

”That’s why I’m taking full responsibility for it, because I over-exaggerated the story. If I had never done that, we wouldn’t be in this mess. I definitely had too much to drink that night and I was very intoxicated.”

Lochte, known for his free-spirited and individualist personality, had sported shocking bleach-white hair to the Olympics, which had taken on a green hue from the chemicals in the pool water. However, when he was stateside with Matt Lauer, his hair was dyed brown and he appeared sober and remorseful for his behavior.

Ryan Lochte Michael Phelps Rio [Photo by Harry How/Getty Images]Lochte wants to continue competitive swimming, but the decision for him to continue with the US Swim Team is not his. He could face sanctions from USA Swimming and the International Olympic Committee. His professional swimming career could well be over. He says that he takes responsibility for those outcomes if they happen. He also stated he hated that he had tarnished the U.S. name in the Olympics games and for the problems it had caused his teammates and Brazilians alike during his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in Rio, who hosted the Olympics.

”Brazil doesn’t deserve that. I am sorry that my immaturity caused all this ruckus.”

[Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images]