Rio 2016: Lochte issues apology, but stands by gunpoint claim


American swimmer Ryan Lochte has issued an apology for "not being more careful and candid" with how he gave his account of an alleged robbery in Rio but maintained he was confronted at gunpoint.

Lochte and three fellow United States relay gold medallists hit the headlines when they claimed they were held at gunpoint after attending a party they were invited to by Brazilian swimmer Thiago Pereira.

However, Rio's civil police chief Fernando Veloso stated that no robbery was committed and the quartet "were not victims of the crimes they claimed".

He added that at least one of the swimmers had vandalised a toilet in a petrol station and offered to pay for the damage.

Lochte on Friday issued a statement expressing his remorse for the way he described the incident, but the 32-year-old stands by his claim that a gun was pointed at him.

He said: "I want to apologise for my behaviour last weekend - for not being more careful and candid in how I described the events of that early morning and my role in taking the focus away from the many athletes fulfilling their dreams of participating in the Olympics.

"I waited to share these thoughts until it was confirmed that the legal situation was addressed and it was clear that my team-mates would be arriving home safely.

"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 that behaviour of anyone else that night, I should have been much more responsible in how I handled myself and for that am sorry to my team-mates, my fans, my fellow competitors, my sponsors, and the hosts of the great event.

"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.

"I am grateful for my USA swimming teammates and the USOC, and appreciate all of the efforts of the IOC, the Rio '16 Host Committee, and the people of Brazil who welcomed us to Rio and worked so hard to make sure that these Olympic Games provided a lifetime of great new memories.

"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."

Lochte's team-mates Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger landed in Miami on Friday after testifying about the alleged robbery. 

The lawyer for the fourth USA  swimmer, James Feigen, said the athlete would make a $10,800 "donation" and leave Brazil later in the day.

The United States Olympic Committee apologised to the Brazilian people and condemned the actions of the athletes.