LAPA, RIO DE JANEIRO – What was Ryan Lochte thinking? We’ve all done dumb things as kids. Even as young adults. But Ryan Lochte is 32 years old. We’ve known for years that Lochte wasn’t playing with a full deck. To be honest, he makes Lenny from Of Mice and Men look like Einstein. But his behavior in Rio has taken his already profound level of stupidity to new heights. The athletically talented but dim-witted swimmer had the world wrapped around his finger. He’s thrown that all away with his drunken behavior and the subsequent lies he told.
Here’s what we know: There was a party. There was a lot of booze. There was a ride home and a pit stop at a gas station – When ya gotta go, ya gotta go. That’s where things get murky. According to Lochte and company’s initial statement, they were held up at gunpoint. But there were holes and discrepancies in their stories so Rio authorities took a deeper look. We now know that there was no robbery. The swimmers were guilty of some vandalism and maybe a bit of public indecency. But the yarn they spun to the police has them in hotter water now.
The tall tale Lochte worked up had the four swimmers robbed at gunpoint with Lochte himself playing the hero, standing up to the assailants and getting the barrel of a gun shoved in his face. The detailed accounts they initially gave didn’t jive with the social media accounts of the party they attended or the surveillance footage of their arrival back at the olympic village.
Now we know that the robbery story was made up. There was a kicked-in bathroom door and a bit of a kerfuffle with the gas station staff. Armed security tried to keep the four ne’er-do-wells on the scene until police got there but a greased palm let the four head back to home base scot free before the authorities arrived.
When I was a young lad and I did stupid stuff – and I did plenty of stupid stuff – I knew to lay low afterwards. It’s common sense. You hide out, keep your mouth shut and wait for things to blow over. What you don’t do is go to the police and make up a story and then go to the national media with that made up story. There was no reason for them to do that. If any story came out it would have been a bunch of drunk guys destroying a gas station bathroom. But they made up a story about a robbery for no reason and doubled down on the fabrication repeatedly. Now they’re caught in this lie and have created an international incident. It has to come down to the tremendous stupidity of Lochte and his buds and their arrogance.
The security of athletes and fans in Rio was always a big concern coming into these Olympic Games. Any crimes would be dealt with swiftly and severely. It turns out that a few athletes were the ones committing the criminal acts. Now the athletes will be made to pay for their actions and lies. The “Ugly American” behavior has given the country a black eye and ruined the legacy of one of the great American swimmers in history.