In Interview with Matt Lauer, Ryan Lochte Sticks to His Story

The Brazilian authorities are at odds with the four American swimmers involved in an alleged armed robbery on Sunday morning. Earlier today, the Rio authorities forbid both Ryan Lochte and Jimmy Feigen from leaving the country (although Lochte is already back in the U.S.). Just minutes ago, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger were pulled from their flight out of the country. They are, at the time of this writing, currently speaking with Rio authorities.

According to NBC, the Rio police are unaware of Feigen’s current whereabouts. He was scheduled to fly out with Conger and Bentz, but never arrived at the terminal.

The authorities seem to be suspicious of Lochte’s story of the robbery, but, in an interview with the Today Show’s Matt Lauer earlier today, Lochte stuck to his version of the events. Lauer noted that when Lochte spoke to him, his account was a little softer around the edges, but he stood by his earlier testimony.

One difference between Lochte’s interview with NBC’s Billy Bush and his conversation with Lauer tonight, Lauer highlighted, was that rather than getting pulled over, Lochte said today that the four tried to get into a taxi, but the driver wouldn’t let them. When they told taxi driver to move, he didn’t, and that’s when two men approached the car and told them to get on the ground. The other swimmers did, but Lochte didn’t.

Another difference is that when Lochte talked to Bush, he said that the assailant put gun to his forehead. However, this time, Lochte said that the man pointed the gun in his direction.

Lauer thinks that the initial story was hyperbolic rather than being untrue.

Lauer also asked Lochte directly whether the swimmers were engaged in any type of embarrassing or illegal behavior, and if that had spurred them to make up the robbery story. Lochte strongly denied the accusation.

According to Lauer, Lochte said “We wouldn’t make a story up. We’re victims in this.”

Lochte then reiterated that the four athletes originally didn’t want to tell the police or the U.S. Olympic Committee about the incident because they were worried that they would get in trouble with the USOC or the IOC for partying. However, according to Lochte, when they realized that they hadn’t broken any rules, they told the USOC.

As for his interactions with the Rio police, Lochte told Lauer that nobody in law enforcement asked him to stay around for questioning. He told police he was reachable and he would cooperate. Lauer said that Lochte called the conversation “friendly, casual, and vague,” and said it was less intense than a questioning Lochte recently went through in the U.S. regarding a home robbery.

Lochte also said that he was planning on leaving the city on Wednesday even before the incident occurred. The USOC systematically keeps athletes’ travel plans private.


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7 years ago

USAToday did their homework; Lauer should have; negotiated settlements do not take place under improper conditio ns with unauthorized negotiators and NEVER at gunpoint!

Dan Baxley
7 years ago

Hey, not to excuse Lochte for his conduct but let’s put this in perspective — If this had happened in the USA and a cop pointed a gun at you and, “Now we are going to negotiate the amount of money you are going to give me, the cop, to make this go away”. And what would we have called that ? Yeah, the cop or security guard would have gone up on charges of bribery, or robbery, because a weapon was involved. See my gun, not we negotiate a sum, really? Please give someone a break. From a USA citizen’s view the conduct was not acceptable but the conduct of the Rio authorities was even worse. Stickem up and… Read more »

7 years ago

Maybe Lochte is back in USA but the others and theirs cell phones still in Brazil. And theirs cell phones can pinpoint theirs exact location through all that night. And there’ll be hard evidency if they are lying or not. The same cell phones they said was not stolen are the eyewitness. Let’s just wait and see.

Peter B
7 years ago

He will have to change his story soon. Police in Rio explained why the swimmers were detained. They destroyed the gas station’s bathroom. A security guard showed up with a gun and demanded reparation. Either pay for the damage or I will call the police.
That is why the judge ordered their passport taken. She knew more than us.
They have evidence, all in camera, that our guys were there and destroyed the place.
Shame on Lochte for lying. I hope they can quickly resolve this and come back home.

Reply to  Peter B
7 years ago

is this accurate? where did you read this?

Brute Bradford
Reply to  Peter B
7 years ago

Then why didn’t the gas station call the cops? Sounds like the cops are manufacturing a cover story…

Reply to  Brute Bradford
7 years ago

Actually they called the cops.. the swimmers wanted the taxi to flee, the taxi driver did not want to flee, asked for the swimmers to wait.. and after that they decided to left some money to pay for the damage and gave the money and left.. the cops arrived later

Rio Official
7 years ago

Lyan Rochte

7 years ago

Looks like Lochte has hung Conger out to dry again. First the 800 free relay, now he changes his story from the comfort of the US while his teammates are still stuck in Brazil. Great leadership, jeah!

7 years ago

Seems to me the basics of the story have stayed the same. The discrepancies could be caused by any number of things: hyperbole in the earlier version, misremembering due to intoxication, etc.
I don’t think it should be a surprise to anyone that a group of drunk guys can’t remember specific details.

7 years ago

Please write your senator to expedite the release of Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger. It will take less time than replying to a comment :). If the US can’t help these two US athletes, they can’t help anyone traveling abroad in the 3rd world.

99 cents
Reply to  UGA Fan
7 years ago

What do you mean your senator can do? Overcome the Brazilian laws?

About Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht grew up in Kansas and spent most of her childhood trying to convince coaches to let her swim backstroke in freestyle sets. She took her passion to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and swam at NAIA Nationals all four years. After graduating in 2015, she moved to …

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