Pretty Sure We Now Know What Most Likely Happened To Ryan Lochte & Co. In Rio
August 19 / Jake O'Donnell / SportsGrid
Getting shitface drunk in what is essentially a third world country -- no less one with as much gun violence as Brazil -- is a tricky proposition. When you're in that country as a symbol of international unity as Olympic athletes are, things get trickier. When you're as high profile and brimming with confidence as the U.S. swim team, things get trickier still. Now imagine that you're rocking the Drako Malfoy-look as you roll up to a gas station at dawn, and promptly start pissing on everything (because you're drunk). Let's face it: Ryan Lochte has just given the world a masterclass in how get in your ass in deep trouble.
To boot, it appears that he's lied directly into NBC television cameras about what transpired that night (er, morning) when the U.S. swim team nearly created an international incident.
Or did he?
It appears that Lochte may have been dramatically exaggerating the details of what was undoubtedly a confusing situation, peppering some grandiose lies into a story that, for the most part, is true.
Using video footage, accounts from witnesses and testimony from the swimmers, investigators said a security guard had brandished a gun after one or more of the athletes vandalized the gas station bathroom.
In his original account, Mr. Lochte claimed that men claiming to be police officers had pulled over the taxi and that an assailant had put a cocked gun to his forehead before taking his money. He later altered that account, saying the taxi had stopped at a gas station so the athletes could use the bathroom.
Still, the description of the security guard’s use of a gun dovetailed with Mr. Lochte’s follow-up explanations of the episode, raising the possibility that the men had felt during the confusion of the moment that they were being pressured to hand over their money.
Mr. Veloso, the police chief, said he could not rule out that there was an extortion attempt by the guards, whom he described as “public agents,” a term that can be used for police officers or other members of the public security forces. Another police official clarified that the guards were off-duty prison guards working a second job at the gas station.
It is plausible to think that Lochte, having been both drunk and dumb as bricks at the time of the incident, may have thought he was being robbed by people pretending to be cops (which jives with his initial story), when, in fact, he was being shaken down by security guards. That being said, there is no evidence -- at least on video or otherwise -- to corroborate Lochte's claim that he was part of some scene out of a Dirty Harry movie.
At no point did anyone point a gun to his head, and Lochte certainly did not respond by saying, "Whatever," although we would not put it past him, as he appears to be stupid enough to do something like that.
In all likelihood, it appears that the U.S. swim team will avoid any meaningful punishment for making false claims to Rio police.
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