On Aug. 14, 2016, swimmer Ryan Lochte, who competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics, made allegations that he and fellow teammates were robbed and held at gunpoint during a night out in Rio stating, “We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing, just a police badge, and they pulled us over. They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground — they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like, ‘We didn’t do anything wrong, so — I’m not getting down on the ground.And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead, and he said, ‘Get down,’ and I put my hands up, I was like, ‘Whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet — he left my cell phone, he left my credentials.” Later his allegations were discovered to include falsified details. After days of media frenzy over the scandal, witnesses and Brazilian police revealed that Lochte’s story, in fact, consisted of misguided information. Brazilian police reported that a mugging never took place and Lochte fabricated details of his story. Authorities also confirmed that there was a confrontation between the olympic swimmers and security guards. Lochte and his fellow teammates were also accused of damaging a gas station bathroom and belligerently fighting with workers of the gas station. A surveillance video was later released depicting the encounter that took place.
Lochte has since apologized for his actions and continues to stand by segments of his story. He has admitted to “over-exaggerating” certain details in his story. Willing to take full responsibility for his actions, he stated,“I accept responsibility for my role in this happening and have learned some valuable lessons.” While he indicated some fiction in his story, he stands by his accusation that he and his team mates were held at gunpoint, describing the event as “traumatic.”(Police have since confirmed this detail.) Lochte and his teammates have paid for the damage done to the gas station and have attempted to cooperate with any type of authority interaction necessary. As time progressed, two of his teammates were detained in Brazil for their actions. It was falsely reported that Lochte had escaped back to America and was now in hiding, but this slander is completely invalid. Lochte left Brazil before Judge Keyla Blanc de Cnop requested to seize his passport. Reports such as these are evidence that media has the goal of depicting Lochte to be a bad guy when, in reality, he is just a guy who made a mistake.
Despite Lochte’s misstep in judgement, he should still be remembered as an American citizen and athlete that has done countless deeds to strengthen the American name. When thinking about the situation at hand, it is imperative to keep in mind that Ryan Lochte, like everyone else in the world, is human. Yes, he made a mistake, but unlike a majority of the world, his mistake was highly publicized, tarnishing a reputation that he has spent his whole life building. Now when people think of him, they only think of this scandal, discrediting all of his hard work and dedication for this country. A multitude of Lochte’s coaches, teammates, and peers have spoken out and testified that Lochte’s character should not be called into question, despite this incident. It is easy to see that Lochte is a hardworking and devoted man that just made a mistake. He is willing to do anything to rectify that mistake and replenish his reputation, proving to America that he is still the
athlete hero that has brought back 12 Olympic medals to the USA and that they can put their trust in.