Ryan Lochte admits gun was not pointed at his head as he "exaggerated" robbery claims

The US Olympics swimmer had claimed that he and his team-mates had been robbed at gunpoint

Ryan Lochte

Image: Michael Sohn / AP/Press Association Images

Ryan Lochte has admitted that he "over-exaggerated" his original story about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janiero during the Olympics. 

The American swimmer had claimed that, along with three of his team-mates, he had been robbed at gunpoint on the way back to the Olympic Village from a night out at Casa Franca in Rio de Janeiro. 

Lochte originally claimed that the group had been confronted by men who showed them police badges, before one of them "pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and said 'get down.' I was like (puts hands up) I put my hands up. I was like 'whatever.' He took our money [and] he took my wallet."

The Brazilian police raised suspicions over the veracity of that version of events, eventually finding CCTV footage and witnesses who confirmed that the athletes were intoxicated and vandalised a petrol station toilet before being questioned by armed guards and paying for the damage they had caused.

Speaking to NBC News, Ryan Lochte admitted that his early descriptions of the events that took place were wide of the mark, and that no gun had actually been pointed at his head.  

"That didn’t happen. The gun was drawn but not at my forehead," said Lochte. "That's why I'm taking full responsibility for it, because I over-exaggerated that story"

However, Lochte did not say that he lied about events, stating: "whether you call it a robbery, whether you call it extortion or us paying just for the damages, we don't know." 

Two of his fellow team-mates who were also caught up in the situation, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, were pulled off their flight home as Brazilian police looked to establish exactly what had happened. They have issued statements in which they outlined their stories, breaking their silence on the matter.

Bentz said that after pulling into the petrol station: "We foolishly relieved ourselves on the back side of the building behind some bushes," before Lochte pulled down an advertising sign. 

Conger notes at that point that staff at the station called two armed security guards over, and that "there was a heated exchange" between the athletes and the guards.

Bentz added that "I cannot speak to his actions, but Ryan stood up and started to yell at the guards," which made the situation more tense.

The revised versions of the stories come after Lochte issued an apology earlier this week, stating that he should have been "more careful and candid in how I described the events of that early morning."

The fourth swimmer involved, Jimmy Feigen, is expected to donate $11,000 to a charity in order to settle the dispute, while the US Olympic Committee stated on Friday that the behaviour of the athletes involved does not "represent the values of Team USA or the conduct of the vast majority of its members. We will further review the matter, and any potential consequences for the athletes, when we return to the United States."

Via NBC News