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|08-19-2016, 09:40 AM||#1|
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Ryan Lochte apologizes for 'behavior' in Rio
US Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte issued an apology Friday regarding his actions in Rio.
The apology comes after he and and three teammates reported getting robbed early Sunday in Rio de Janeiro.
Lochte said in part:
"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. I waited to share these thoughts until it was confirmed that the legal situation was addressed and it was clear that my teammates would be arriving home safely."
https://t.co/n82dZH2gfl pic.twitter.com/rGp1nmA94G</p>-- Ryan Lochte (@RyanLochte) August 19, 2016 Officials later determined that the robbery report was a lie.
What really happened, police say, is one or more of the swimmers vandalized a gas station bathroom and urinated on the premises before armed security guards confronted them.
An exchange of money between the athletes and guards, they said, was to pay for the damage done.
Much of the incident was captured on closed-circuit TV footage. But there are still questions that need to be answered, civil police Chief Fernando Veloso has said.
Three of the four swimmers, including Lochte, are back in the United States. Veloso said Lochte would be interviewed at some point but wasn't specific about where the interview would take place.
Lochte on Wednesday night strongly insisted he didn't make up the story, Matt Lauer of Olympics broadcaster NBC reported.
Here's a breakdown of what we know and don't know about the reported robbery -- and what it means for everyone involved:
Rio has been trying to rise above a multitude of negative headlines. Starting well before the Olympic Games, the city has been hammered for its dire financial situation, crime, security, pollution and the presence of the Zika virus. Not to mention Brazil is in the midst of political upheaval, including its Senate voting to hold an impeachment trial for suspended President Dilma Rousseff.
Lochte isn't the only one to say he was robbed in Rio -- the Australian team claim their possessions were stolen at the Olympic Village as they evacuated in a fire scare.
British Olympic officials said Thursday that one of its athletes had also been robbed.
And an Australian swimmer was forced to withdraw $1,000 from his ATM after a night out in Copacabana.
As for USA Swimming and the US Olympic Committee, which has apologized for the swimmers' behavior, the incident marks a 180-degree turn from the start of the Games. Team USA dominated the stories from the pool and out of it, particularly with Lilly King speaking out against doping and Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel and Michael Phelps winning historic medals.
On Sunday, four US swimmers -- Lochte, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen -- went to a party at the French team's hospitality house. The swimmers returned to the Olympic Village at 6:56 a.m., as shown in surveillance video. CNN has been unable to authenticate the video, which the Daily Mail obtained.
Closed-circuit TV footage from a gas station, where the incident took place early Sunday, does not conclusively show that the men were not robbed, but it does indicate Lochte had left out a huge part of the story in his initial accounts.
Police say one or more of the swimmers vandalized a bathroom at the station and urinated outdoors on the premises. That part appears likely, going by video images of one of the men pulling up his pants.
The men re-entered their taxi and were approached by security guards that police say were armed. One leans into the car, and the men get out.
Police said the athletes handed over 100 reals ($20) to cover the damages. But the swimmers have not confirmed that this is what happened, and Lochte's attorney maintains the athletes were robbed.
Lochte's initial account to NBC on Sunday described how the swimmers were robbed by men with a police badge and that one of them pressed a gun to his head. The US Olympic Committee corroborated that account at that time.
On Wednesday, a Brazilian judge ordered Lochte's and Feigen's passports seized to bar them from leaving the country. Police arrived at the Olympic Village to confiscate the passports, but the men were not present, the US Olympic Committee said. Lochte was already back in the United States.
Bentz and Conger arrived in Miami on Friday after police in Brazil questioned them.
Police said the swimmers said they had not been robbed, although the athletes have not commented publicly.
On Wednesday, Bentz and Conger were pulled off a flight in Rio bound for the United States and barred from leaving until they gave a statement to police. Police said they interviewed the two on Thursday.
Feigen provided authorities with a revised statement Thursday evening "with the hope of securing the release of his passport as soon as possible," the US Olympic Committee said.
Exactly when did the four swimmers leave the party? Judge Keyla Blanc De Cnop, in her court order, said the swimmers allegedly made statements to police that they left the party at the France house at 4 a.m. However, Alexandre Braga, chief of the tourist police force in Rio, told journalists Wednesday that the swimmers left the party at 5:45 a.m.
Lochte's attorney, Jeff Ostrow, said he couldn't pin down the timing but said it was around 5 or 6 a.m.
Both Lochte and Brazilian authorities said money was exchanged and a gun was brandished at some point, but that can't be seen on the security footage.
And while this video shows that Lochte didn't tell the whole story, it doesn't technically rule out the possibility of a robbery.
How did the athletes appear to be acting when they returned to the Olympic Village at 6:56 a.m.? Video appears to show the swimmers in possession of high-value items that might be expected to have been taken in an armed robbery. And the judge said the athletes' jocular behavior upon arrival at the Olympic Village -- combined with inconsistencies in their statements -- led police to question the veracity of the robbery claim.
However, it's hard to infer from the video how the athletes were acting. Ostrow said the video doesn't show a complete picture of what happened, considering there is no audio.
"That video shows me nothing -- it shows guys coming home at 6 or 7 in the morning and shows me they're happy that they're alive," he said.
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