Written by Leanna Westerhof. DM by Caitlyn Campbell.
This summer in the 2016 Rio Olympics the big news wasn’t the amazing performances of athletes all across the globe. Rather it was about four U.S. swimmers who first reported that they were robbed by Brazilians posing as police officers, but then later changed their stories. It was an embarrassing and confusing time for the United States and for Brazil. Our country was in the limelight and it was not for winning a lot of gold medals. Instead, it was in the limelight because four American athletes did something stupid and then lied about it.
There were several reports circulating around there after this incident and the stories that Ryan Lochte and his teammates told the press. Later on, Lochte admitted that he embellished parts of his story. He originally said that the security guards held a gun to his forehead, but in reality, they did pull guns on the four swimmers the gun was several feet away and not touching him. He also told authorities that he had been robbed. This is a matter of perspective. The four swimmers were intoxicated with alcohol and urinated behind a gas station where Lochte ripped a sign from the wall vandalizing the property. Which he neglected to mention in his initial story.
Then due to the language barrier a heated exchange began between Lochte and one of the security guards. Further adding to the confusion because the Americans thought they were being asked to pay for the damages so they then handed over what was in their wallets and went on their way. Two of the teammates were held for questioning in Rio and their passports were taken so they couldn’t leave the country. Lochte had already flown back to the United States. And another teammate paid a settlement and returned to the United States.
This very confusing story has a lot of twists and turns with numerous perspectives offered by the four American swimmers and the Brazilian law enforcement. Some people feel like the situation was over-dramatized on one side or both sides. Some people feel like Ryan Lochte needs to be punished or he wasn’t punished enough. Lochte’s punishment includes being suspended for ten months and being banned from the 2017 World Championships.
Whatever the case is, it is obvious that the details were skewed on either end. And the reality is that four Olympians who were representing the United States in a global competition needed to blow off some steam by getting drunk. As grown men, they are responsible for their actions and I think they learned that this past summer more so than they ever have before. It shows when being on a scale of that proportion the care you need to take when performing certain actions. While I find it odd and strangely confusing that Lochte’s other teammates did not get punished, I have to admit I hope he learned his lesson. When performing on a stage of such magnitude your actions are portrayed on every television screen and unfortunately the actions he didn’t want portrayed were.