On Friday, fellow Team USA swimmer Gunnar Bentz also said he was sorry about the scandal. In case you somehow missed this, his teammate claimed to have been robbed at gunpoint while in Rio de Janeiro, even though that didn’t actually happen.
The Olympian issued a statement apologizing for everything that happened:
“I want to offer a sincere apology to the United States Olympic Committee, USA Swimming, the extraordinary women and men of Team USA, and the University of Georgia. Being a member of the Olympic Swimming Team was an honor and a dream come true. The accomplishments of my teammates were awe-inspiring and I’m so pleased I got to see them up close. I regret this situation has drawn attention away from the Olympics, which have been hosted so incredibly well by Brazil and its citizens.”
At the same time, the athlete also insisted he never lied about the situation and was never a suspect in the controversy, adding:
“While I am anxious to put this matter behind me and rejoin my Georgia teammates in classes, practices and competitions, I feel compelled to stress several key points: 1. I was never a suspect in the case from the beginning (Brazilian law enforcement officials saw me only as a witness). 2. I never made a false statement to anyone at any time.”
To prove his point, the sports star went on to share his side of the story from that night:
“After attending an event with several swimmers from different nations, I left in a taxicab along with U.S. swimmers Jack Conger, Jimmy Feigen and Ryan Lochte around 6 a.m. On the way back to the Olympic Village, we pulled into a convenience store to use the restroom. There was no restroom inside, so we foolishly relieved ourselves on the backside of the building behind some bushes. There was a locked door out back and I did not witness anyone breaking it open. I am unsure why, but while we were in that area, Ryan pulled to the ground a framed metal advertisement that was loosely anchored to the brick wall. I then suggested to everyone that we needed to leave the area and we returned to the taxi.”
The 20-year-old continued to describe the incident with the security guards, and swears this report is the same one he gave to the Rio police:
“Two men, whom I believe to have been security guards, then instructed us to exit the vehicle. No guns were drawn during this exchange, but we did see a gun tucked into one of the guard’s waistband. As Jimmy and Jack were walking away from the vehicle, the first security guard held up a badge to me and drew his handgun. I yelled to them to come back toward us and they complied. Then the second guard drew his weapon and both guards pointed their guns at us and yelled at us to sit on a nearby sidewalk.”
He also explained that Ryan was outwardly agitated with the guards:
“Again, I cannot speak to his actions, but Ryan stood up and began to yell at the guards. After Jack and I both tugged at him in an attempt to get him to sit back down, Ryan and the security guards had a heated verbal exchange, but no physical contact was made.”
The Georgia native went on to detail paying for the damage, and maintained that the four swimmers were the only people in their cab.
He finished by thanking his loved ones for support, saying:
“I am so thankful for the love and support of my family, my friends and my teammates during this time. Without question, I am taking away a valuable life lesson from this situation. In everything I do, I am representing my family, my country and my school. I will not take that responsibility lightly.”
You can read Gunnar’s full statement here.
[Image via Getty Images.]