Ryan Lochte is making another lap of apologies.
The Olympic swimmer feels like he “let down a lot of people” after claiming he and four teammates were robbed at gunpoint at a gas station in Rio, then leaving his teammates behind in Brazil to be questioned while he skedaddled back to the states.
In a new interview with People, the athlete says that his actions have been on his mind lately because he has such “a big heart,” explaining:
“I’ve been thinking about it a lot, because I have a big heart, and I feel like let down a lot of people. I feel bad that I have let people down.”
Thanks for breaking down that complex emotional process for us, Ry!
The gold medalist says the worst part of the controversy is how the media “blew it up,” causing the scandal to take away from the rest of the Olympic Games, adding:
“It sucks that it was one of the main focuses of the Olympics. That’s what stinks. The media blew it up and talked about it. It got out of control, and this was all anyone could talk about. Everyone started watching it, and they didn’t watch the athletes. That’s another reason why I’m so hurt by it, because it took away from the games.”
Of course, Lochte isn’t the only one swimming in the apology pool — James Feigen has become the final US swimmer involved in the incident to apologize for his actions.
Echoing the statements released by Lochte, Jack Conger, and Gunnar Bentz, Feigen issued an apology for the “serious distraction” the athletes caused by telling the fabricated story.
“First and foremost I would like to apologize for the serious distractions from the Olympics, Rio de Janeiro, and Team USA├óΓé¼┬ª. I have nothing but respect for the city in undertaking the massive responsibility of hosting the Olympics and I feel their performance was exemplary.”
Feigen admitted the athletes did not tell police they urinated in the bushes behind the restroom and that Lochte pulled a framed poster off the wall — but did maintain they had a gun pointed at them and were ordered to pay money. He continued:
“One of my teammates told me that a man with a gun was standing outside the cab. We then got out of the cab and I paid the driver the fare. As I walked away, the man with the gun pointed it at me and my teammate and ordered us, in Portuguese, to sit. This was the first time I have ever had a gun pointed at me and I was terrified.
I put my hands up and sat down on the curb. It became apparent that the man with the gun was telling us to pay, and I was unsure if they were affiliated with the gas station. Gunnar Bentz and I gave the man some money.”
That does sound scary, we have to admit — though claiming it was a “robbery” is clearly erroneous.
After being detained in Brazil for questioning, the 26-year-old was asked to pay an “unreasonable” fine of $31,250 for the return of his passport, but settled with authorities on a fee of $10,800. His statement concluded:
“The support of my family, friends, and attorneys was paramount in my ability to return home. I am so sorry for the drama this has caused in everyone’s lives. I am very thankful to be home in the United States with my family and that this ordeal has come to an end.”
[Image via Instagram.]