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Ryan Lochte has apologized for over-exaggerating his tale of being held at gunpoint in Rio, telling TODAY's Matt Lauer he and his teammates wouldn't be "in this mess" had he not lied.
"They (the people of Rio) put on a great Games. They did everything. And my immature, intoxicated behavior tarnished that a little," Lochte said.
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Asked whether he alone vandalized the gas station bathroom, Lochte responded that he was in no frame of mind at the time to know for sure.
"I have no idea. I mean, I was very intoxicated. It was immature. It was childish," Lochte said. "I take full responsibility for everything."
On Friday, the 12-time Olympic medalist posted an apology to Instagram and Twitter, writing that he was sorry for his "role in taking the focus away from the many athletes fulfilling their dreams of participating in the Olympics."
He went on to write that he "should have been much more responsible in how I handled myself," and mentioned that he would have released the apology sooner, but was waiting until three of his teammates, also involved in the incident, were allowed to return to the U.S.
"You told me on the phone, Ryan, you said, 'We are victims here,'" Matt asked the swimmer. "'We are victims. And we're happy that we're safe.' In the police press conference, they said, 'Not victims. They're vandals.' How do you feel about that?"
"It's how you want to, how you want to ... make it look like. Whether you call it a robbery, whether you call it extortion. Or us paying just for the damages," Lochte responded.
He continued: "Like, we don't know. All we know is that there was a gun pointed in our direction and we were demanded to give money."
Initially, Lochte told TODAY and NBC News that men who appeared to be police officers robbed him and three of his teammates at gunpoint as they made their way back from a party. But back in the U.S., he recounted his story again to NBC News, this time changing some of the details. Most notably, he stated that the gun had not been held against his head and that the event had occurred at a gas station.
But last week, after reviewing surveillance footage and speaking with witnesses, the Brazilian police said there was no robbery and that security guards had drawn their weapons only after the swimmers vandalized a gas station bathroom and were asked to pay for the damage.
The three swimmers with Lochte (Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen), meanwhile, shared their own versions of the story, and told police that some of Lochte's memories of the incident did not align with their own. Conger also revealed that he and Lochte had urinated behind the gas station.
When Matt pressed Lochte, insisting that his initial reporting of the alleged robbery was more about the "mean streets of Rio" than "some dumb behavior," Lochte admitted: "That's why I'm taking full responsibility for it.
"It was my immature behavior."
The International Olympic Committee announced Friday that it had set up a disciplinary commission to shed more light on details surrounding the scandal. And over the weekend the USOC announced it will pursue further disciplinary action against Lochte and his teammates.