Now that the entire bro-party-turned-overblown-international-incident involving Ryan Lochte and three other U.S. swimmers appears to have settled down, we’re getting all sides of the night in question. Swimmer Jack Conger, one of the four in the fateful taxi cab last Sunday morning and one of two swimmers pulled off a plane bound for the United States, has released a statement giving what he calls “a summary of what I believe happened that night.”
In Conger’s retelling, the four swimmers partied, stopped at a gas station, urinated somewhere outside (“for which I apologize”), tore a poster off the wall, drew the attention of gas station employees, got into an argument with gun-wielding security (part of the account disputed by a witness), paid for the poster, and went back to the U.S. Olympic Village, in all likelihood blissfully unaware that Lochte was about to set off a global story.
Conger’s story differs from the statement of fellow swimmer Gunnar Bentz in some slight ways; for instance, he does not detail the amount of money paid for the poster (roughly $70, in Bentz’s telling). Regardless, Ryan Lochte, in stark contrast to his own initial statements, doesn’t exactly come off as a hero in either of these recent statements.
Here’s the complete statement:
“It’s good to be back home in the U.S. Participating in the Olympics was a wonderful experience, and I want to express my appreciation to Brazil and to Rio de Janeiro for being wonderful hosts. I also want to express my gratitude for the support I’ve received from my family and friends, USA Swimming, the US Olympic Committee, and the University of Texas.
“Unfortunately, one event has become the focus of attention, and I want to briefly address that event today. First and foremost, I deeply regret the trouble and embarrassment this event has brought to the people of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro, and the distraction it has caused from the achievements of my fellow Olympians. Brazil and Rio have staged a great Games, and it was a privilege to be there and to represent the United States of America. I also want to express my regret for its impact on USA Swimming and the USOC.
“Let me begin by emphasizing that I have been completely truthful in my statements throughout this unfortunate situation, including the information I provided to US officials before leaving Brazil. In fact, the Brazilian authorities made clear to me from the very beginning that I was being considered only a witness, not a suspect.
“Perhaps it will be helpful to provide a summary of what I believe happened that night:
“Early Sunday morning I was with USA swimming teammates celebrating at the French House. Four of us took a taxi back to the Olympic Village, and on the way we pulled into a gas station to use the restroom, but ultimately relieved ourselves outside, for which I apologize. Ryan Lochte removed a poster from a nearby wall, which apparently alerted the gas station employees, leading to our being confronted by two armed security men. Although I cooperated with their requests while there was a heated exchange among others, at one point a weapon was pointed at me. Eventually, a man appeared who was able to translate for us, helping to defuse the situation. We paid some money to compensate them for the torn poster, and returned to the Village in a different taxi.
“This has been an unsettling, humbling and frightening experience. It’s a reminder that all of us, when we travel and especially when we represent the US in the Olympics, are ambassadors for our country and should be on our best behavior.
“Again, I want to express my appreciation to Brazil and Rio de Janeiro, and my apologies. I appreciate the support I have received from my family and friends, as well as the support I’ve received from my teammates and so many others. Now, I am looking forward to getting back into my normal routine of school and swimming.”
Live from Rio: Ryan Lochte, international fugitive; the strange side of the Games:
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.