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USOC Apologizes for Ryan Lochte Rio Robbery Tale

Image: USOC Apologizes for Ryan Lochte Rio Robbery Tale

Video image of U.S. swimmers (inset) at gas station. (Staff/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 19 Aug 2016 07:32 AM

The USOC apologized for Ryan Lochte's Rio robbery tale after an investigation by Brazilian authorities unraveled his original story that he and other American swimmers were held up at gunpoint.

Lochte was long gone from Brazil after Thursday's apology, but his lawyer continued to defend his story.

It was an embarrassing pivot for the United States Olympic Committee which initially backed the six-time gold medal-winning swimmer and his three teammates – James Feigen, Jack Conger, and Gunnar Bentz – who claimed they were robbed by men in security uniforms early Sunday, reported The Guardian.

Lochte said on Sunday that the swimmers' taxi was pulled over by men flashing a police badge who forced them to the ground, according to CNN. Lochte said after he refused to get down a man cocked a gun and pressed it against his head.

His story changed Wednesday, with him saying the swimmers were robbed after using a toilet at a gas station, noted CNN. Lochte said two men tried to force them to the ground, one pointing a gun inches from him when he refused.

Fernando Veloso, head of Rio de Janeiro's civil police, told a news conference on Thursday that one of the swimmers confessed the story was fabricated and blamed Lochte for it, according to The Guardian.

Authorities said the swimmers were confronted after vandalizing a restroom at a gas station. Video surveillance cameras at the gas station caught some of the confrontation and it was made public on Thursday, said The Guardian.

"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," the USOC said on Thursday. "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."

Conger and Bentz had been removed from flights departing Rio and their passports were confiscated by Brazilian authorities, said The Guardian.

Rio police are recommending that Lochte and Feigen face false police reporting charges, ABC News reported.

Lochte's lawyer, Jeffrey Ostrow, continued to defend the swimmer's version of the story.

"A gun was pointed at the swimmers and they were forced to get out of their cab and give up their money," said Ostrow, per ABC News. "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."

The USOC said Bentz and Conger gave statements to local Brazilian authorities on Thursday while Feigen gave a revised statement on Thursday.

Surveillance video aired by Brazil's Globo TV shows the swimmers at a gas station.  Additional footage obtained by Globo TV shows the swimmers arriving at a party at French House around 1:45 a.m. and leaving four hours later.

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The USOC apologized for Ryan Lochte's Rio robbery tale after an investigation by Brazilian authorities unraveled his original story that he and other American swimmers were held up at gunpoint.
usoc, apologizes, ryan lochte, rio, robbery
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2016-32-19
Friday, 19 Aug 2016 07:32 AM
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