By Danielle Silva
U.S. Olympic swimmer and 12-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte, along with gold medalist teammates Jack Conger, James Feigen and Gunnar Bentz, tainted their winning reputations in Rio de Janeiro during this summer’s Olympic Games in Brazil.
According to Fox News, the swimmers reported that they exited a cab to go to the bathroom at a gas station after 5 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 14, at a Shell gas station in Barra de Tijuca. The swimmers had allegedly vandalized the bathroom and were approached by a security guard asking for money for damages. Due to a language barrier, Lochte said he interpreted the encounter as a robbery attempt, as the security guard pulled out a gun to control the situation. To avoid further confrontation, Feigen handed over the money, the swimmers said.
Fox News also reported that Lochte had been arrested and later released. During an interview, Lochte stood by his original robbery story, but had changed some details.
“The Lochte Mess Monster,” as some news outlets have been calling him, admits that he left out a fair amount of details, such as what he had done to provoke the confrontation and the fact that he was intoxicated at the time of the incident, along with the vandalism and rowdiness at the gas station.
People Magazine reported that Lochte is “taking full responsibility for the incident,” and while his teammates are detained back in Rio, he is putting his immaturity in the past and promises to not let his image or country down again.
CNN quoted Lochte, who claimed that he is “100 percent sorry for his actions” and wants to remedy his mistakes. However, Lochte faced some repercussions, as he lost all four of his commercial sponsors: Ralph Lauren, Airweave, Syneron-Candela and Speedo.
The Washington Post explained that Lochte had signed a 10-year deal with Speedo back in 2006, but the company does not want him representing its products, or the company itself, any longer because of his actions. Speedo chose to donate $50,000 of Lochte’s fees to the Save the Children charity, an organization that aids young children all over the world—in this case Brazil specifically—with any issues they have. The organization helps developing countries and their children get an education, health care, goals for their futures, as well as relief from natural disasters and assistance during times of crisis, such as war or other governmental conflicts.
As for Lochte, he wishes to continue his swimming career and attend the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, according to the Washington Post.