The details of Ryan Lochte‘s so-called “robbery” in Rio are still a bit fuzzy, but Matt Lauer attempted to get to the bottom of the story Saturday night.
In Lochte’s first interview since admitting he “over-exaggerate[d]” his earlier claim that he and three other U.S. swimmers had been robbed at gunpoint in Brazil, when in fact they had vandalized a gas station and were confronted by a security guard to pay for the damages, the Olympian told Lauer that he takes “full responsibility” for embellishing his story.
“If I didn’t over-exaggerate the story… none of this would have happened,” Lochte told the Today anchor. “We wouldn’t be sitting here discussing this. I left certain things out. That’s why I’m in this mess.”
The gold medalist went on to blame his intoxicated state for much of the confusion, noting that “it was my immature behavior” that led to the vandalism, after he’d “definitely had too much to drink that night.”
Other highlights from Lochte’s Q&A:
* On whether or not he was legitimately robbed in Rio: “I can’t answer that. I was intoxicated. All I know is there was a gun pointed at us, and we were demanded to give money. Whether it was extortion or a robbery… that’s why people can look at it from different directions.”
* On watching his teammates get pulled off a plane departing Brazil, before having their passports suspended: “I let my team down,” Lochte said through tears. “I don’t want them to think that I left them dry. I took away from their accomplishments by being immature for one night. That’s what hurts the most.”
* On being a role model for future swimmers: “I’m embarrassed for myself… I know what I did was wrong. All I can do now is better myself in making sure this stuff never happens again. I don’t want them to look at me like a drunk frat boy. I definitely want to be a role model for those young kids.”
The remaining six minutes of Lauer’s interview with Lochte will air Monday on Today. In the meantime, tell us: Did Lauer go too easy on him? Was Lochte remorseful enough?
Watch a segment of the interview above, then hit the comments with your thoughts.