Lochte: Rio be­hav­ior was ‘im­ma­ture’

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ASSOCIATED PRESS

US swim­mer Ryan Lochte said he overex­ag­ger­ated what hap­pened at a Rio gas sta­tion, ad­mit­ting that his “im­ma­ture be­hav­ior” got him and three team­mates into trou­ble in the fi­nal days of the Olympics.

Lochte con­tin­ued to back­track from a story that he ini­tially de­scribed as an armed rob­bery.

Po­lice said the swim­mers van­dal­ized a bath­room af­ter a night of par­ty­ing and that armed guards con­fronted them and asked them to pay for the dam­age.

“It’s how you want to make it look like,” Lochte said in a por­tion of an in­ter­view with NBC’s Matt Lauer that aired on Satur­day.

“Whether you call it a rob­bery or whether you call it ex­tor­tion or us just pay­ing for the dam­ages, we don’t know. All we know is that there was a gun pointed in our direc­tion and we were de­manded to give money.”

But he said he un­der­stood that he was be­ing told that the US swim­mers had to pay for the dam­age or the po­lice would be called.

At this point in the in­ter­view, Lauer said: “You’re strik­ing a deal. Is that fair?”

Lochte replied: “We just wanted to get out of there,” adding that the swim­mers were fright­ened.

Lauer told Lochte that his story had mor­phed from be­ing one about “the mean streets or Rio” to a ne­go­ti­ated set­tle­ment to cover up dumb be­hav­ior.

Lochte said: “That’s why I’m tak­ing full re­spon­si­bil­ity for it, be­cause I over-ex­ag­ger­ated the story. “If I had never done that, we wouldn’t be in this mess.”

Lochte also said that he had lied in telling NBC in­ter­viewer Billy Bush the next day that a gun had been cocked and pointed at his fore­head. He said that he was still un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol when he talked to Bush.

“I def­i­nitely had too much to drink that night and I was very in­tox­i­cated,” he said.

As Brazil­ian po­lice in­ves­ti­gated his rob­bery claim, and even­tu­ally held his team­mates for ques­tion­ing while they sorted out his story, he had tweeted that he in­tended to dye it back.

I’m tak­ing full re­spon­si­bil­ity for it, be­cause I overex­ag­ger­ated the story.” US Olympic swim­mer Ryan Lochte

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