U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte has apologized for his behavior surrounding a late-night incident at a Rio de Janeiro gas station, saying he should have been more careful and candid about how he described what happened.
Lochte said in a lengthy post on Instagram Friday that he was apologizing for his role in taking the focus away from other Olympic athletes.
The 12-time gold medalist reiterated his view that a stranger pointed a gun at him and demanded money to let him leave.
But Lochte says he should have handled himself more responsibly.
Brazil police have said Lochte lied by saying he and three other swimmers were robbed. They vandalized a gas station bathroom and were confronted by security guards.
Here is his entire statement, which was posted on his Instagram account:
“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.
It’s traumatic to be out late with your friends in a foreign country – with a language barrier – and have a stranger point a gun at you and demand money to let you leave, but regardless of the behavior of anyone else that night, I should have been much more responsible in how I handled myself and for that I am sorry to my teammates, my fans, my fellow competitors, my sponsors, and the hosts of this great event. I am very proud to represent my country in Olympic competition and this was a situation that could and should have been avoided. I accept responsibility for my role in this happening and have learned some valuable lessons.
I am grateful for my USA Swimming teammates and the USOC, and appreciate all of the efforts of the IOC, the Rio ’16 Host Committee, and the people of Brazil who welcomed us to Rio and worked so hard to make sure that these Olympic Games provided a lifetime of great new memories. There has already been too much said and too many valuable resources dedicated to what happened last weekend, so I hope we spend our time celebrating the great stories and performances of these Games and look ahead to celebrating future successes.”
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