Breaking News Emails
Jack Conger, one of the four American swimmers in hot water after what Brazilian authorities say was a fabricated tale of robbery in Rio, has issued an apology.
"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," Conger said in a statement Saturday. "Brazil and Rio have staged a great Games, and it was a privilege to be there and to represent the United States of America."
Conger said he also regretted the impact the incident had on USA Swimming and the U.S. Olympic Committee.
He asserted that he has been "completely truthful in my statements throughout this unfortunate situation," which happened early last Sunday morning after a night of celebrating with 12-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte, Jimmy Feigen and Gunnar Bentz.
"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," he said.
The security guards pointed a weapon at Conger at one point, he said, and eventually a man who was able to translate came over and told the swimmers they had to pay for the damage they caused.
"We paid some money to compensate them for the torn poster, and returned to the Village in a different taxi," Conger said.
"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 U.S. in the Olympics, are ambassadors for our country and should be on our best behavior."
Conger is back in the U.S., along with Bentz, Lochte and Feigen. His statement came a day after Feigen reached a deal to donate almost $11,000 to a Rio judo academy for low-income youth which enabled him to leave Brazil, according to his lawyer.
In yet another twist in the saga, however, Reuters reported that prosecutors appealed Feigen's penalty as being too low and persuaded a judge to suspend the earlier ruling that had given him the green light to leave. But Feigen had already left Brazil hours earlier.
Lochte, who gave varying versions of the alleged robbery to TODAY, also apologized Friday.
"I want to apologize for my behavior last weekend — for not being more careful and candid in how I described the events of that early morning and for my role in taking the focus away from the many athletes fulfilling their dreams of participating in the Olympics," Lochte wrote on his social media accounts.
Rio police refuted Lochte's account of being robbed by gunpoint Thursday in a news conference, citing surveillance video and witness testimony.
"They were not victims of the criminal actions that they claimed they were," Rio Police Chief Fernando Veloso said. "They fabricated a story."
USOC has also submitted an apology to Rio. The International Olympic Committee said Friday it had set up a disciplinary commission to look into the matter.