Ryan Lochte tried to come clean about the “robbery” that left three of his U.S. swimming teammates dealing with Brazilian police after what turned out to be an episode of public urination and vandalism, stating that the episode and his subsequent fabrication of details about it were the product of “my immature behavior.”
Lochte, speaking with NBC’s Matt Lauer and freshly brunet, said during an interview airing tonight that he takes “full responsibility,” but that his initial characterization of the incident as a “robbery” was “how you want to make it look like.” From People:
When asked about Rio police painting him as a “vandal” vs. a victim, Lochte stopped short of saying he was a vandal.
“It’s how you wanna make it look like,” he told Lauer. “Whether you call it a robbery or extortion or us paying just for the damages. All we know was there was a gun pointed in our direction and we were demanded to give money.”
The swimmer also teared up at one point during the interview when asking how he felt when his fellow swimmers were detained in Rio when he knew they didn’t do anything wrong.
“I let my team down and, you know,” he said, as he started to tear up. “I wanted to be there. I don’t want them to think I left them and left them out to dry. They’re my teammates and I wanted to be there. I just wanted to make sure they were home safe before I came out to talk.”
Lochte initially claimed he and the other three swimmers were pulled over by fake cops, after which the four-time Olympian was robbed at gunpoint—with a pistol being placed to his forehead.
“I over-exaggerated that story. And if I had never done that, we wouldn’t be in this mess,” Lochte told Lauer. His confession comes after swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz issued statements that unequivocally rejected Lochte’s initial depiction of what happened.