Ryan Lochte took to Instagram on Friday to issue an apology after his account of an alleged robbery was questioned by law enforcement in Rio, Brazil.
The 32-year-old Olympic swimmer explains that he waited to make a statement until his three teammates, James Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, who also claim to have been held up at gunpoint on Sunday, were allowed to leave the country.
"I want to apologize for my behavior last weekend -- for not being more careful and candid in how I described the events of that early morning," Lochte, who gave two somewhat different accounts of the incident to the Today show -- writes. "And for my role in taking away from the many athletes fulfilling their dreams of participating in the Olympics."
Lochte stands by his story that he had a gun pointed at him. "It's traumatic to be out late with your friends in a foreign country -- with a language barrier -- and have a stranger point a gun at you and demand money to let you leave," he recalls. "But regardless of anyone else's behavior that night, I should have been much more responsible in how I handled myself. For that, I am sorry to my teammates, my fans, my fellow competitors, my sponsors and the hosts of this great event."
The statement continues, "I am very proud to represent my country in Olympic competition, and this was a situation that could and should have been avoided. I accept responsibility for my role in this happening and have learned some valuable lessons."Brazilian police claim the swimmers had not, in fact, been held up
at gunpoint but instead had vandalized a gas station bathroom while intoxicated, and paid the damages after being questioned by armed guards.
On Friday morning, Conger and Bentz returned to the U.S., while Feigen has agreed to pay nearly $11,000
to get his passport returned to him so that he too can get back to the states. Lochte returned to the U.S. earlier this week.