Ryan Lochte's Translator Speaks Out & Gives A Different Version Of That Alleged Gas Station Confrontation
While Simone Biles, Katie Ledecky and the entirety of the women's track and field team dominated the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this summer, it was swimmer Ryan Lochte who brought the drama. Lochte found himself in some hot water — sorry for the pun — when he alleged that he and several members of the U.S. men's swim team were robbed at gun point during a rowdy night out in Rio. It turns out Lochte's robbery story wasn't true at all, and the 12-time Olympic medalist is facing media fallout and a possible indictment for reporting a false crime. Ryan Lochte's translator is now speaking up, and his version of events differ greatly from Lochte's and the three other U.S. swimmers who were involved in whatever mayhem unfolded that night.
Lochte first alleged that he and three U.S. swimmers were robbed at gunpoint while returning home from a party the morning of Sunday, August 14. Lochte told Brazilian authorities, as well as NBC News, that the four swimmers were approached by two men disguised as police officers. Lochte alleged that a gun was pointed at his head, and he was forced to lay down on the ground. According to NBC News, Lochte gave a different version several days later: the gun was never pointed at his head.
Brazilian authorities later denounced both accounts as false,and released video footage of Lochte causing vandalism at a gas station that same night. Two security guards at the gas station confronted the four U.S. swimmers, and Lochte now alleges that the security guards pointed a gun at Lochte.
In a statement released Friday, American swimmer Gunnar Bentz, who was with Lochte that night and was considered a witness by Brazilian police, said guns were eventually drawn by the two security guards:
Two men, whom I believe to have been security guards, then instructed us to exit the vehicle. No guns were drawn during this exchange, but we did see a gun tucked into one of the guard's waistband. As Jimmy and Jack were walking away from the vehicle, the first security guard held up a badge to me and drew his handgun. I yelled to them to come back toward us and they complied. Then the second guard drew his weapon and both guards pointed their guns at us and yelled at us to sit on a nearby sidewalk.
In his statement, also released Friday, American swimmer Jack Conger corroborated that at least one gun was drawn. "Although I cooperated with [the security guards'] requests while there was a heated exchange among others, at one point a weapon was pointed at me," Conger said in the statement.
But a man who acted as a translator for the American swimmers that night has a slightly different version of events. Fernando Deluz told the Associated Press that no weapons were drawn during the confrontation at the gas station. "There was no aggression. Pointing a gun at them? Never. There was nothing like that," Deluz told the AP.
Deluz added to the news source that one of security guards placed a hand on his gun, then pointed his hand at the ground. But Deluz is firm that no guns were pointed at the Olympic swimmers. He told the AP that the swimmers "lied about what happened."
Lochte, meanwhile, is still going with the story that he was approached by men, had a gun pointed at him, and was possibly robbed. Lochte posted an apology on his Instagram account on Friday that reiterated his trauma over allegedly having been held at gunpoint. "It's traumatic to be out late with your friends in a foreign country...and have a stranger point a gun at you and demand money," Lochte wrote. "I should have been much more responsible in how I handled myself."
Brazilian authorities have yet to definitively say whether or not weapons were actually drawn, and are still piecing together the play-by-play of this gas-station confrontation. However, Deluz, the translator, did corroborate to the Associated Press the report that the American swimmers compensated the gas station for the vandalism.