Ryan Lochte Speaks Out After Rio Robbery Scandal

The Olympic swimmer admits he "over-exaggerated that story."

Ryan Lochte has been mired in drama since it was revealed his story about being robbed at gunpoint while at a Rio de Janeiro gas station with three fellow athletes—Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen—was not entirely truthful.

According to Brazilian authorities, Lochte and his teammates were intoxicated and destructive of the gas station property, prompting an armed security at the business to demand money for the damages. A Brazilian judge then ordered the passports of the involved athletes to be seized, but not before Lochte was able to fly back to the United States.

Now, back on his home turf while his teammates are detained, Lochte speaks out about the incident for the first time since it all unraveled in an exclusive interview with NBC's Matt Lauer. The first part of the two-part interview aired on Saturday night during NBC's Nightly News.

"Whether you call it a robbery, whether you call it extortion, or us paying just for the damages—we don't know," Lochte told Lauer. "Like, all we know is that there was a gun pointed in our direction and we were demanded to give money."

"We just wanted to get out of there. I mean, there was a gun pointed in our direction. We were all frightened and we wanted to get out of there as quick as possible and the only way we knew was this guy [translator] saying, 'You have to give him money.' So we gave him money and we got out."

When confronted with an earlier admission he'd made saying that none of his teammates had caused any of the destruction, Lochte was contrite.

"I'm taking full responsibility for it, because I over-exaggerated that story and if I'd never done that we wouldn't be in this mess… It was my immature behavior."

"I let my team down," Lochte acknowledges, on the verge of tears. "I wanted to be there. I don't want them to think that I left and left them dry, because, I mean, they are my teammates I definitely wanted to be there. And I wanted to help out any way I could."

This remorseful discussion comes on the heels of another apology Lochte issued via his Instagram account:

The second part of the interview will air on Monday, Aug. 22 on NBC's Today.


<p>Ryan Lochte caught major heat during the Rio Olympics when he lied about being held at gunpoint and robbed at a gas station, when in reality he was trying to cover up the fact that he (along with his teammates) vandalized a gas station bathroom. He ended up losing major sponsors—including Ralph Lauren and Speedo USA—after investigators concluded he fabricated his story.</p>

(Image credit: Getty Images)
Sarah Lindig

I am an experienced editor, writer, and creative strategist, specializing in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle content for digital media outlets, as well as video and social platforms. While I currently operate as a freelance contributor/consultant, with such clients as The Zoe Report, my 10+-year background in the industry was cultivated at the dot-coms of elite publications, including Harper’s BAZAAR, ELLE, and Marie Claire.