U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte has been charged with making a false report about a robbery attempt during the Olympics in Rio. The 4-time Olympian and 12 time Olympic medalist claimed that he and three teammates (Jimmy Fiegan, Jack Conger & Gunnar Bentz) were robbed at gunpoint when their taxi stopped at a gas station after leaving a party. Ryan originally stated that men, posing as security guards, held a gun to his forehead during the robbery attempt. He later changed his story saying a gun was there, but it was not pointed at his head.
Upon conclusion of the police investigation in Rio, which included questioning Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz after they were removed from their flight to the United States, it turns out that Ryan & his teammates had been caught vandalizing the gas station (Ryan tore a poster off of the wall). The security guards Ryan mentioned were actually confronting the four athletes about the damages, not trying to rob them.
During an interview with Matt Lauer, Ryan says that he “exaggerated” parts of the story. He claims that during the incident he was drunk and scared at the time. According to a statement he posted on Instagram, he says that it was “traumatic to be out late with your friends in a foreign country – with a language barrier”. It’s interesting that he neglected to mention that someone was there to help translate conversations between the athletes and the security guards.
After losing corporate sponsors such as: Speedo and Ralph Loren, all is not lost for the Olympian. Ryan will be competing in the upcoming season of Dancing With The Stars along with: Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez, 11-time Grammy Award winner Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, former Texas governor Rick Perry and Maureen McCormick who is best known for her role as Marcia Brady on The Brady Bunch. Lochte also hopes his appearance will show him in a different light. As he so eloquently told TMZ, “I think everyone’s got a misperception of me, and hopefully this show helps see my real personality and, like, the loving, caring, self I really am.” He also hopes that people will allow him to move on from the Rio incident now known as Lochte-Gate.
Kat’s Take: <Sigh> Ryan’s original version of events was not an exaggeration, it was a flat out lie. He was in another country representing the United States and all he had to do was be a gracious guest, compete, support his team and win medals. Unfortunately, he got drunk and behaved recklessly. This whole scandal could have been avoided if he just stepped up and took responsibility for his actions. Also, to the people calling him a kid and making excuses for him, have several seats! He’s 32 and I’m sure he knew better than to go to a foreign country and lie about being victimized when he was the one causing problems.
Matt’s Take: Just like when Perez Hilton was on Celebrity Big Brother, I feel the need to apologize on behalf of America. We’re sorry about Ryan Lochte. The fact of the matter is that he was an Olympic athlete representing our country overseas, and that’s not how our country wants to be represented. What’s worse is that I’m not certain he would have ever come forward with the truth on his own — he seemed more than willing to let Rio take the blame, and I find that appalling. I’ll be watching Dancing with the Stars this season, but only to see Laurie Hernandez — a true Olympian athlete — wipe the floor with Lochte.
During this year’s Olympic Games in Rio, U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte made headlines after reports came out stating that he and three teammates had been involved in an attempted robbery. Reports claimed that the 4-time Olympian and 12 time Olympic medalist and three teammates (Jimmy Fiegan, Jack Conger & Gunnar Bentz) were robbed at gunpoint when their taxi stopped at a gas station after leaving a party. Ryan originally stated that men posing as security guards held a gun to his forehead during the robbery attempt.
During the investigation the police noticed that there were some inconsistencies to the story between Lochte & his three teammates. While on a flight that was heading to the United States, Jack Congar & Gunnar Bentz were pulled off of the plane before takeoff and were detained by the authorities in order to give statements about the alleged robbery.
During an interview with Matt Lauer (click to watch the clip), Ryan changed his story. He said that although a gun had been drawn, it was not actually held to his head. Days after the incident the police discovered that a robbery attempt never took place! According to the police, Ryan and his teammates were accused of vandelizing a gas station bathroom (Ryan allegedly tore a sign off of the wall) and they were confronted by a security guard who demanded payment for the damages. A witness also came forward saying that he helped translate during the altercation.
Since returning to the United States, Ryan has been charged for making a false police report in Rio. His testimony for the case will be given in the U.S. and transferred to Brazilian authorities. According to Ryan, he only “exaggerated” certain parts when he reported the incident. He also says that he was drunk and scared at the time and that the language barrier played a part as well. He posted the following statement on August 19 via his Instagram account:
Unsurprisingly, Lochte’s commercial sponsors were not too happy with the incident and quickly began cutting ties with the swimmer. Speedo was the first to go, stating, “While we have enjoyed a winning relationship with Ryan for over a decade… we cannot condone behavior that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for.” Ralph Lauren, the official outfitter for the US Olympic team, quickly followed suit and pulled Lochte’s bio and all images of him from their website. Before long Lochte had also lost his other two endorsement deals for mattress company Airweave and Gentle Hair Removal laser treatment centers.
But there was one deal that Lochte’s actions didn’t derail, and may have even strengthened: it was revealed Tuesday that Lochte would be joining the cast of Dancing with the Stars for their 23rd season. The athlete had apparently already been signed before the Rio games started, and Executive Producer Rob Wade said that the controversy never gave him pause. “We were committed to Ryan,” he told TV Guide. “We use the show as a place where people can come on and tell their story. …we felt like for us, this is an opportunity for Ryan to come on and show his true self and dance on the show and have some fun. We certainly didn’t feel like we should be pulling the offer away from him.”
Lochte also hopes his appearance will show him in a different light. As he so eloquently told TMZ, “I think everyone’s got a misperception of me, and hopefully this show helps see my real personality and, like, the loving, caring, self I really am.”
Uhhh… sure, Ryan. What you said.
Also joining Lochte in the upcoming DWTS season is fellow US Olympian Laurie Hernandez, 90’s rapper Vanilla Ice, Brady Bunch star Maureen McCormick, musician and producer Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, and Kanye’s ex Amber Rose.