In the last two days, the biggest U.S. Olympic story has not been Simone Biles’ dominance in women’s gymnastics nor swimmer Michael Phelps making a good case for being the greatest American Olympian of all time. Instead, it’s been all about another swimmer – Ryan Lochte – and what appears to be a robbery incident that didn’t take place after all. As we’ve learned, Lochte allegedly took part in shenanigans that one would expect from a Johnny Manziel, but not from as world-famous Olympic swimmer with 12 medals in his long career.

Partying – and defacing property – like rock stars

Originally, Lochte had claimed that he and fellow U.S. swimmers Jimmy Feigen, Jack Conger, and Gunnar Bentzwere robbed by men impersonating police officers. This took place Sunday morning, after the athletes had spent Saturday night at a party at France’s hospitality house. The tale of a robbery at gunpoint earned him sympathy from the world of sport in general, but soon, that sympathy turned to doubt when Rio de Janeiro authorities found inconsistencies in Lochte’s statements.

At that time, the other three swimmers were blocked from leaving Brazil, while Lochte, perhaps conveniently, was already back home in the U.S.

But what actually happened? Based on the police investigation that followed the incident, the swimmers left the French hospitality house around 2:30 to 3:00 on Sunday morning, and headed to another “community.” What happened in the next three hoursis still fuzzy, but at 6 a.m., their taxi was at a Shell gasoline station, and the athletes soon disembarked to break several items – a mirror, a soap dispenser, and a door.

Proof of the metal door forcibly being pulled off was found in the gas station’s surveillance video. Employees soon caught wind of the chaos, and as the swimmers dashed back to the taxi, they asked the taxi driver not to leave, as police would be arriving to investigate.

Not surprisingly, one of the station’s security guards told police that Lochte seemed to be drunk. There were also damning quotes from the gas station owner, who told a Brazilian news source that the swimmers had also urinated on the wall.Additionally, one of the gas station’s security guards did pull out a gun, though this is not unusual as Brazil’s police officers often work in private security to augment their income.

After negotiating with the employees through a translator, the swimmers paid about $31 U.S. dollars for the damages before police could make it there, and finally returned to the Olympic Village.

Rio cops demand an apology from Lochte, et al

To say that the whole “#LochteGate” brouhaha has been a press relations disaster for Team USA is an understatement. Already, the incident has sparked ridicule and disgust (or both) on social media in Lochte’s home country.

And while most Ryan Lochte memes still reference his being America’s second-best swimmer to Phelps, one can expect the number of memes referencing #LochteGate to explode in the coming days.

Over in Brazil, though, it’s no laughing matter. Many Brazilians believe that by lying about an armed robbery to save face after a night of drunken mayhem at a Rio de Janeiro gas station, Lochte and the three other U.S.

swimmers involved had besmirched the city’s reputation, considering its notoriouslyhigh crime rate. All four athletes involved were booed and jeered by Rio natives – including some journalists – as they left the police station where they were questioned by authorities on Thursday. And with these law enforcement officials having determined that no robbery had actually taken place early Sunday morning, they want a publicapology from the swimmers, particularly Lochte, for spinning a "fantasy" story to "stain" the city.

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