Bentz paints Lochte as aggressor in Rio incident


Gunnar Bentz, the youngest of the four United States swimmers accused of making up a false story about an armed robbery at the Rio Olympics, released a statement on Friday detailing the events in question.

The 20-year-old's lengthy account paints Ryan Lochte as the aggressor in the situation that unfolded around 6am on Sunday after the four swimmers stopped at a gas station to use the restroom following a party in Rio.

While statements from Brazilian police have said the swimmers broke down a door at the gas station and urinated inside it, Bentz's story is a bit different. It reads in part:

"On the way back to the Olympic Village, we pulled into a convenience store to use the restroom. There was no restroom inside, so we foolishly relieved ourselves on the backside of the building behind some bushes.

"There was a locked door out back and I did not witness anyone breaking it open. I am unsure why, but while we were in that area, Ryan pulled to the ground a framed metal advertisement that was loosely anchored to the brick wall. I then suggested to everyone that we needed to leave the area and we returned to the taxi."

At that point, Bentz writes, the group was approached by two men "I believe to have been security guards," one of whom had a gun tucked into his waistband.

Swimmers Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen began to walk away from the taxi, according to Bentz, and the guard pulled out his gun and held up a badge. The second guard is then said to have pulled his gun and told the swimmers to sit down on the sidewalk.

Bentz added: "Again, I cannot speak to his actions, but Ryan stood up and began to yell at the guards. After Jack and I both tugged at him in an attempt to get him to sit back down, Ryan and the security guards had a heated verbal exchange, but no physical contact was made."

At that point a customer who spoke Portuguese and English interceded and helped translate, and the swimmers eventually gave up $20 and 100 Brazilian Reals (about $50) to the guards, who apparently lowered their guns and allowed the group to leave. They then walked a block down the street and took another taxi back to the Olympic Village.

"Videos of this situation have been emerging the last several days," Bentz wrote. "However, I am confident that some video angles have not been shown that would further substantiate my account.

"I also believe some scenes have been skipped over. Additionally, I would like to stress that our original taxi was not pulled over; the only occupants of the taxi were the four of us and the driver; and to my knowledge, there was no damage done to the door or the inside of the restroom."

Bentz's statement was released by the University of Georgia, where he is a student and member of the swim team. Bentz, who arrived back in the US early Friday, emphasised that he was considered a witness, not a suspect, by Brazilian police and never made a false statement about the incident at any time.

Lochte issued an apology via social media earlier on Friday but has not provided a revised version of what happened.