John Keen, Staff Writer
Reports last week that Ryan Lochte and fellow American swimmers, Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger were robbed at gunpoint, have been apparently fabricated, according to multiple news outlets.
Lochte, initially, came forward and claimed the he and fellow American swimmers had been pulled over by an unmarked car, and was then robbed at gunpoint by unidentified men with police badges.
However, later reports and leaked security footage, show the four swimmers leaving a gas station at the time of the supposed robbery, leading to admission by Lochte that he fabricated that night’s events.
“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,” Lochte wrote on social media.
In a statement released by the USOC (United States Olympic Committee), Lochte and the three other swimmers, left their hotel room in the early morning of Aug. 14 and called for a cab. After riding in the cab for some time, the four swimmers stopped at this gas station to use the restroom, where one of the swimmers “committed an act of vandalism.”
After leaving the restroom and getting back into the cab, two armed security men met the swimmers, showed their weapons, ordered the swimmers from their vehicle and demanded payment.
Making matters worse for Lochte, who is the only one of the four swimmers still claiming to be robbed, under Brazilian law, filing a false police report is punishable by up to six months in jail or heavy fines.
As of now, only Lochte and Feigen have been charged with any crime; while Bentz and Conger have yet to be charged. Lochte, seemingly, has escaped any legal persecution, as he has already gone back to the United States. Meanwhile, Bentz and Conger have recently arrived in Miami, while Feigen has paid a donation of $11,000 to remove himself from the situation.
Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated wrote, “It would be extremely difficult for Brazil to successfully pursue an extradition of Lochte. The extradition treaty between the United States and Brazil does not authorize extradition for the criminal act of falsely reporting a crime.”
At this point Lochte has lost millions of dollars in endorsements. Michael Phelps, fellow American swimmer and one of the most decorated Olympian of all-time, has faced his share of scandals such as getting charged DUI and pictures of him smoking marijuana surfacing after the 2012 games in London. Yet, Phelps was able to retain his endorsements.
However, Lochte’s situation reflects poorly, not only on himself, but his entire country. Whether any reproductions occur or not, one thing is for certain: the actions of Lochte, Feigen, Bentz and Conger has left a black eye on the United States at Rio’s 2016 Olympic Games.