By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has apologized to Rio de Janeiro citizens and Brazilians alike for the damage that four of the country’s swimmers caused to the city when they claimed they were robbed at gunpoint last week. Authorities fined one of the athletes US$10,800 while allowing the other two to return to the U.S. on Thursday.

Brazil,U.S. swimmer accused of falsely reporting robbery in Rio Olympics,
U.S. swimmer accused of falsely reporting robbery in Rio Olympics, photo internet reproduction.

“On behalf of the United States Olympic Committee, we apologize to our hosts in Rio and the people of Brazil for this distracting ordeal in the midst of what should rightly be a celebration of excellence,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said in a statement released Thursday night.

According to Blackmun the USOC does not find the behavior of the four athletes acceptable, stressing that it does not represent the values of Team USA or the conduct of the vast majority of its members. The CEO said that the entity would be reviewing the incident and that additional penalties to the swimmers could be imposed after the Olympics are over.

The four athletes (Bentz, Conger, Feigen and Ryan Lochte) left France House early in the morning of August 14th in a taxi headed to the Olympic Village. They stopped at a gas station to use the restroom, where it is said that Lochte committed an act of vandalism.

An argument ensued between the athletes and two armed gas station security staff, who displayed their weapons, ordered the athletes from their vehicle and demanded the athletes provide a monetary payment. Once the security officials received money from the athletes, the athletes were allowed to leave.

On Thursday night, the two swimmers, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz, who were hauled off an U.S.-bound plane the day before were allowed to leave the country, after giving their statements to authorities.

Swimmer Jimmy Feigen signed an agreement where he would pay a fine of US$10,800 for supplying false statements to authorities. The fine is to be paid in the form of a donation to be given to a charity in Rio.

Feigen will have to pay the fine before he is able to retrieve his passport and leave the country. Ryan Lochte, the swimmer who apparently was the ‘mastermind’ behind this entire fiasco, left Brazil on Monday night.

Brazilian authorities already under the microscope by the international media for Rio’s reputation of violence and drug warfare say the false report damaged the city’s image.

According to Rio de Janeiro’s police chief, Fernando Veloso, the athletes involved should apologize to city residents, because they mocked the city’s public safety system. “They should apologize to Rio,” said Veloso.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Ryan Lochte and Co represent everything that is wrong with the youth of today; however they are even more reprehensible, simply because they are wealthy, world famous and so, believe they are completely entitled.

    As soon as I heard the story, I knew it was complete bollocks, not only because I have been to Rio so many times in the past, but because I knew swim king Lochte would never have just got into an ordinary yellow cab taxi being a narcissistic and self-indulgent US celebrity athlete. Heaven forbid. He would clearly have had a bullet proof SUV, fitted with tinted windows, hookers and a steady supply of cocaine, arrive to pick him up from the French Club, while his Apple Pie US damsel waited longingly for his return in their penthouse hotel suite while feasting on M&M’s and watching re-runs of Caitlyn on the Kardashian show.

    And so he lied. The problem was that this white lie had an edge, because it set in motion a chain of events that can be likened to Aesop’s fable “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. Lochte and Co not only sent the Rio security authorities into a complete tizz and on a wild goose chase, but also blackened the already beleaguered reputation of the City as a crime cesspit, and no doubt caused massive unnecessary anguish and stress all the way to the top of the Brazilian security administration.

    What Lochte and Co did was unforgivable. The magnitude of fine is a complete joke, the apology a cop-out. At the end of the day, Lochte will blame the Brazilian authorities for manhandling his mates and swear on Donald Trump that he’ll never go back to the cesspit. The truth is – the cesspit doesn’t want him and his mates back.

  2. Please come to the US. When you scratch my car or deface a wall we’ll pull guns on you and demand payment. By the way, that is the definition of robbery.

  3. Barry, thanks. As a Brazilian and a Rio de Janeiro resident, let me tell you that you said almost everything my poor english would never allow me to.

  4. But now only one of the 4 of Lochte and Co apologise to the people of Brasil or Rio. Lochte was the worse, as it was not an apology at all, Bentz is all about excuses and only has apologise for the U.S. Conger say the right thing and say sorry to the Brasilians and Cariocans. Nothing from Feigen.

  5. As an American, I could not be more embarrassed of that immature punk, Ryan Lochte. His “apology” was even more embarrassing, and honestly was no apology at all. It was more of an excuse.

    This is a shining example of why people in other countries are losing respect for the USA.

    Sorry, Brazillians, for this spoiled rotten American brat.

  6. As an American I am embarrassed that this guy represents my country. However, it seems like everyone here in the USA is just as offended and embarrassed.

    I hope my fellow Americans don’t accept his apology, which is only being made because he didn’t get away with it.

  7. Why did the reporter’s media company not do a thorough check on the story before going ahead to publish and rubbishing the reputation of Brazil’s security apparatus. More so considering that the athletes were from a country where gun massacres have now become so common-place.

  8. As far as I can see, no one is disputing the four men’s drunken behavior, or their claim that armed gas station attendants pulled guns on them & demanded some payment for their behavior there before they were able to leave. From an North American viewpoint, I can’t see that the men’s claim to have been robbed is that far from what happened. It’s the men’s arrogance that upset the Olympic committee. The Brazilian government has laid further fines and demands for public apologies on them before they could leave.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

18 − eleven =