Lochte takes ‘full responsibility’ for Rio scandal

New York—Star American swimmer Ryan Lochte on Saturday said he took “full responsibility” for vandalizing a gas station bathroom and then inventing a story about it to police during the Rio Olympics.
The episode, which has embarrassed the US sporting superpower, saw Lochte and three other gold medal winning US swimmers embroiled in a controversy after he gave a shocking—and false—account of how they had been robbed at gunpoint.
“That’s why I’m taking full responsibility for it, is because I overexaggerated that story and if I had never done that, we wouldn’t be in this mess,” Lochte said in an interview broadcast in part late Saturday. The full interview will be aired later by NBC television.
Lochte had already apologized on Friday for setting off a storm of controversy after he said the swimmers were mugged by robbers pretending to be police while on their way back from an all-night party.
It was only after police declared the story bogus—saying that the four had only been detained by security and made to pay compensation for drunken vandalization of a gas station bathroom—that Lochte finally came clean.
“I left details out… I left certain things out, and I overexaggerated some parts of the story,” Lochte said in the interview.
On Wednesday a Rio judge ordered the athletes’ passports confiscated so that they could not leave the country.
Although Lochte had already left, the other three—Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen—underwent questioning in Rio police stations.
Asked how he felt being home while his teammates were detained, Locht said: “I let my team down. And, you know, I wanted to be there, like, I don’t want them to think that I left, and left them dry because they were my teammates.” “I just wanted to make sure that they were at home safe before I came out and talked,” he added.—AFP

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