The United States Olympic Committee apologized on Thursday to the people of Brazil for the behavior of four American swimmers who were found to have lied about a gunpoint robbery, prompting enormous criticism of the Games host city.
America’s official Olympic body acknowledged that one of its athletes had committed an act of vandalism in a gas station restroom and the swimmers had handed over money to security staff after they’d demanded payment for the damage in the early hours of Sunday.
“The behavior of these athletes is not acceptable, nor does it represent the values of Team USA,” USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun said in a statement released on Thursday night.
The USOC’s final account differed wildly from an interview given by gold medallist Ryan Lochte, 32, on NBC, in which he said he and swimmers Jack Conger, 21, Gunnar Bentz, 20, and Jimmy Feigen, 26, had been robbed by men posing as police and that he’d had a gun put to his head.
Bentz and Conger flew out of Brazil Thursday night after visiting a police station earlier in the day to revise their statements.
The USOC also said on Thursday that Feigen, the only one of the swimmers left in Brazil, had also revised his statement to Brazilian authorities.
“Feigen provided a revised statement this evening with the hope of securing the release of his passport as soon as possible,” the USOC said.
“On behalf of the United States Olympic Committee, we apologize to our hosts in Rio and the people of Brazil for this distracting ordeal in the midst of what should rightly be a celebration of excellence,” it said.