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One of the more controversial — and bizarre — stories to come out of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro has been the alleged robbery at gunpoint of U.S. swimmers Ryan Lochte, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and Jimmy Feigen that was said to have taken place early Sunday morning.
But skepticism arose about Ryan's account of the morning as new details emerged during the investigation this week, and Brazilian police ultimately determined that the swimmer had fabricated the story, according to The New York Times. Instead, investigators said security guards pulled out a gun after one or more of the athletes vandalized a gas station bathroom. They left after paying about $55 for the damage, USA Today reports.
Now Ryan is speaking out about the incident via a lengthy note posted on Instagram Friday. "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 and for my role in taking the focus away from the many athletes fulfilling their dreams of participating in the Olympics," he wrote.
Ryan, who returned to the United States earlier this week, went on to say that he "waited to share these thoughts until it was confirmed that the legal situation was addressed and it was clear that my teammates would be arriving home safely." Gunnar and Jack, who were pulled off of a plane leaving Rio on Wednesday, arrived back in Miami, according to Reuters. Jimmy has also agreed to pay 35,000 real (about $10,800) to Instituto Reacao, a judo academy for low-income kids and teens, in order to leave Brazil, NBC News reports.
Ryan didn't give specific details about the night in question, but he did say he regrets his bevahior. "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, but regardless of the behavior of anyone else that night, I should have been much more responsible in how I handled myself and for that am sorry to my teammates, my fans, my fellow competitors, my sponsors, and the hosts of this great event," he said in the statement. "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."
The U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun addressed what's next for the athletes upon their return to the country in a statement released late Thursday night. "The behavior of these athletes is not acceptable, nor does it represent the values of Team USA or the conduct of the vast majority of its members," he said. "We will further review the matter, and any potential consequences for the athletes, when we return to the United States."
He also issued an apology to the host country for the episode. "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," he said. "With three days remaining in the Olympic Games, our primary focus will remain on supporting the athletes who are still competing and celebrating the achievements of those who have finished."
Now Ryan is just hoping to move on from the incident. "There has already been too much said and too many valuable resources dedicated to what happened last weekend, so I hope we spend our time celebrating the great stories and performances of these Games and look ahead to celebrating future successes," he concluded his statement on Instagram.
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