Three detained American swimmers “are cooperating” and providing “further statements to the Brazilian authorities” on Thursday, according to the United States Olympic Committee.
It’s occurring at the so-called Rio Tourist Police station near Ipanema Beach, where a massive throng of international media are stationed for a perp walk.
Yeah, it’s come to this: The story of the Olympics, a likely fake claim of robbery at the end of a drunken night of debauchery turned into global story courtesy of a publicity-mad swimmer-turned-reality-TV-star who, unlike his three buddies – teammates Jimmy Feigen, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz – is home safe in the United States.
This is likely bad news for Ryan Lochte, who appears to have found his three compatriots throwing him under the bus to authorities. At least two of the swimmers are at the jail, and have reportedly told police Lochte made up the story.
Ryan Lochte had said he was robbed at gunpoint by people impersonating police officers. (Reuters)View photos
Ryan Lochte said he was robbed at gunpoint by people impersonating police officers. (Reuters)
Not that Lochte could have envisioned this coming. So press-addicted as he is, he apparently can’t comprehend the drama and difficulties he’s left behind in Rio as he continues to fan the rage of the Brazilians.
Down here, authorities not only don’t believe his story of being mugged at gunpoint Sunday, but also see his whole story as nothing but an attempt to further denigrate and humiliate the nation and its law enforcement.
The truth is Ryan Lochte was safe and secure in Rio. The Brazilians have thus far done an admirable job guarding Olympic venues, housing and transportation, especially for the athletes. Perfect, no, but it’s never perfect.
If some of them want to run the streets of Rio at night on their own, as Lochte’s quickly unraveling story is based on, well, that’s on them and against all of the recommendations provided them or common sense of living in a major city – here or at home.
As angry as the Brazilians are with Lochte, his fellow swimmers should be even more heated. None of this becomes an international incident without Lochte trying to turn it into a Kardashian-esque marketing opportunity.
If this was a good night celebrating Olympic achievement turned unnecessarily wild and then decidedly bad night, well, it happens. No matter what did or did not occur, it appears everyone survived unscathed. Move on and one day laugh over it.
Even the IOC agrees. “We have to understand that these kids were trying to have fun,” IOC Rio Games spokesperson Mario Andrada said. “They came here, they represent their country to the best of their ability. They train for years. They competed under gigantic pressure. I understand they’re under investigation. I can’t go much further into the details.
“But let’s give these kids a break. Sometimes you take actions that you later regret. Lochte is one of the best swimmers of all times. They had fun, they made a mistake, life goes on.”
Of course, Lochte is 32 years old, and no “kid.” Lochte’s publicity machine kicked in as word of the robbery leaked to the press, with Lochte’s mother as a confirming source. Then his team of representatives pushed back on the doubts from Rio police and the IOC.
[Related: Rio 2016 official on Lochte scandal: ‘Let’s give these kids a break’]
Then Lochte just couldn’t shut up and had to go on NBC with Billy Bush – whose full-time job is with Access Hollywood – and describe an outrageous series of events.
“We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over,” Lochte said. “They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground – they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn’t do anything wrong, so – I’m not getting down on the ground.
“And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, ‘Get down,’ and I put my hands up, I was like ‘whatever. He took our money, he took my wallet – he left my cellphone, he left my credentials.”