U.S. Olympic swimmer Jimmy Feigen said late Tuesday that he left out certain facts in the Rio robbery story to “protect” his teammates before the scandal spiraled into an international spectacle last week.
The 26-year-old athlete, who had to pay about $10,800 before leaving Brazil following the gas station bathroom incident, issued a statement in which he admitted he withheld two details about the Aug. 14 encounter from police.
“I omitted the facts that we urinated behind the building and that Ryan Lochte pulled a poster off the wall,” Feigen said in the statement, according to NBC News. “I realize I made a mistake by omitting these facts. I was trying to protect my teammates and for this I apologize.”
Lochte initially said he, Feigen and fellow American swimmers Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger were victims of an armed robbery that involved a gun being held to his forehead after the group was pulled over while inside a taxi. The story unraveled and Brazilian authorities later said the athletes vandalized a gas station bathroom.
Both the swimmers and Brazilian authorities say that at least one security guard pulled a gun on the athletes. “This was the first time I have ever had a gun pointed at me and I was terrified,” Feigen said.
Feigen insisted the four swimmers never forced entry or walked into the locked bathroom. Instead, they made “the regrettable decision to urinate in the grass behind the building,” he said.
“I am so sorry for the drama this has caused in everyone’s lives,” Feigen added. “I am very thankful to be home in the United States with my family and that this ordeal has come to an end.”