The decorated U.S. swimmer posted a statement on social media Friday, apologizing for his actions over the weekend in Rio that landed him and three other swimmers in a whirlwind of Olympic controversy.
Lochte's teammates Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger landed in Miami on Friday after testifying about the alleged robbery described to police. The lawyer for the fourth U.S. swimmer, James Feigen, said he would make a $10,800 "donation" and leave Brazil later in the day.
Brazilian police denied Lochte’s claim that he and the other swimmers were robbed at gunpoint after a night of partying. Instead, reports and surveillance video showed that the swimmers were intoxicated and vandalized a gas station restroom before being questioned by armed guards, paying for the damage and leaving.
The full statement:
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 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 that behavior of anyone else that night, I should have been much more responsible in how I handled myself and for that am sorry to my teammates, my fans, my fellow competitors, my sponsors, and the hosts of the 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.
The incident is under investigation and it remains unclear whether Lochte and Feigen face charges for filing a false police report.
The Wall Street Journal reported that a Rio 2016 spokesman accepted Lochte's apology but said "it's clear that the Brazilian population felt humiliated" by the swimmers' initial accusations.