Jack Conger, one of four USA swimmers involved with incident in Rio that has dominated headlines the past week, has issued a press release clarifying his involvement in the situation.
News accounts of the incident began on Sunday with reports that Ryan Lochte had been robbed at gunpoint early Sunday morning. Details emerged that Lochte had been with fellow swimmers Conger, Jimmy Feigen, and Gunnar Bentz out late at a party, but Rio police disputed Lochte’s account of an armed robbery. Eventually, after a number of different accusations and clarifications, Conger and Bentz were pulled off a plane to provide testimony, Feigen had to pay a fine related to early statements he’d made, and the IOC is convening a committee to investigate further.
Conger’s statement came shortly after Bentz also released statement that was very similar in both tone and content.
Here is the full text of Conger’s 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 USASwimming 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.
Conger and Bentz, are both college swimmers and first-time Olympians. They earned gold medals for swimming in the preliminary heat of the 4×200 free relay. Lochte, a four-time Olympian, earned gold in the same event. Feigen earned a gold medal by competing in the preliminaries of the 4×100 free relay for his second Olympic Games.