In an exclusive interview with Matt Lauer, 12-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte offers a tearful apology for what he repeatedly called “over-exaggerating” the details of his previous versions of his late night encounter last Sunday night in Rio at the 2106 Summer Olympics.
He also says many times throughout the interview that he wants to take “full responsibility” for his actions, and he apologizes to the people of Rio and the country of Brazil for insinuating anything negative about the host city, and to his fellow Olympians for distracting from their accomplishments throughout this past week.
From NBC News:
In an interview with TODAY Sunday, Lochte said an armed robber pointed a gun at his forehead and cocked the weapon. In the interview that aired Saturday, Lochte said that was made up.
“That didn’t happen and that’s why — I over-exaggerated that part, ” Lochte said. The gun was drawn and pointed in his direction but was never at his forehead, Lochte said.
Asked why he would make up the dramatic detail, Lochte said: “I don’t know why.” He added it was hours after the incident occurred and he was still intoxicated.
“I’m not making me being intoxicated like an excuse, I’m not doing that at all,” Lochte said. “It was my fault and I shouldn’t have said it.”
Lauer asked Lochte why he had maintained they were “victims” in his statements to police and to the media.
“It’s how you want to make it look like. Whether you call it a robbery, whether you call it extortion, or us paying just for the damages, like, we don’t know,” Lochte responded. “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,” Lochte said. “We were all frightened. And we wanted to get out of there as quick as possible. And the only way we knew is — this guy saying, ‘You have to give him money.’ So we gave him money, and we got out.”
I think watching the full interview puts some things in perspective.
I can’t defend Lochte, but I will say I think he’s aware that he made an immature mistake. And I also think, without being mean-spirited, that he’s just not the sharpest tool in the shed. I think he had a knee-jerk reaction in the middle of what he feared would be – and did become – an international incident.
You can watch the full interview here.