Ryan Lochte sat down for his first interview post-LochteGate, telling NBC’s Matt Lauer, finally, what really happened that night in Rio — and taking full responsibility.
Matt Lauer didn’t beat around the bush with Ryan Lochte, asking him straight out if he was a “victim” as he once said, or “vandal” as the police called it, along with his friends James Feigen, Jack Conger, and Gunnar Bentz. The first part of the interview aired on August 20 on NBC Nightly News.
“It’s how you want to make it look like — whether you call it a robbery, whether you call it extortion or us paying just for the damages. All we know is that there was a gun pointed in our direction and we were demanded to give money.”
Matt also re-explained the situation to Ryan, to be sure he was clear: the security guards were saying to give them money or they were going to call the police. “Yes, so then we had to give them money,” Ryan said.
So, did he strike a deal to pay for his damages and avoid the police? “We just wanted to get out of there,” Ryan said. “There was a gun pointed in our direction. We were all frightened. We wanted to get out of there as quick as possible and the only way we knew, is this guy was saying to give him money.”
Matt also brought up that Ryan’s story about the “mean streets of Rio” was more a “negotiation settlement to cover up some dumb behavior.” Ryan agreed. “
“That’s why I’m taking full responsibility,” he said. “I over exaggerated that story. If I never did that, we wouldn’t be in this mess. None of this would have happened. It was my immature behavior.”
Ryan also released a lengthy apology on Twitter on August 19, one day before the first portion of his interview was released, stating that he took “full responsibility” for his actions.
The 12-time gold medal winner also apologized for taking the spotlight away from the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, which are still very much happening! Ryan and his teammates were partying hard at a club in Rio on August 13, and initially came forward with a story that they had been robbed at gunpoint by strangers posing as cops. The story started unraveling, and it was revealed that they had made it up; they were confronted at a gas station by security guards, and one guard did hold a gun up to a swimmer who was allegedly being disorderly. Ryan made up the robbery story because he felt threatened and panicked. Not okay.
Needless to say, Ryan has been faced with ruthless scrutiny since the incident, even from Matt’s TODAY colleague Al Roker; Al went off on the LochteGate situation on air, telling all his co-anchors that Ryan lied to them, that he lied to his own mother, and he left his teammates hanging! After this in-depth interview, which concludes on Monday, August 22 on TODAY, what will Al’s official stance be?
HollywoodLifers, were you surprised by Ryan’s candidness? Tell us in the comments! The rest of Ryan’s interview will air on the Olympics on the 20th and on Monday’s Today show.