Olympic swimmer Jimmy Feigen says he omitted facts in Rio 'robbery,' apologizes
U.S. Olympic swimmer Jimmy Feigen on Tuesday made his first public comments about the bathroom hi-jinx that spiraled into an international incident in Rio de Janeiro last week.
In a written statement provided to NBC News, Feigen admitted to initially leaving out details of an early morning incident at a Rio gas station, saying he omitted the facts to police in an attempt to help teammate Ryan Lochte.
The Aug. 14 encounter was initially described by Lochte as an armed robbery by men posing as police officers, but the tale soon unraveled into an embarrassing controversy.
Lochte has been portrayed by some as an entitled American who spun a scare story, using the city's reputation for crime to conceal their drunken behavior, and several sponsors have dropped him.
"I omitted the facts that we urinated behind the building and that Ryan Lochte pulled a poster off the wall," Feigen said in the statement. .
"I realize I made a mistake by omitting these facts," Feigen said. "I was trying to protect my teammates and for this I apologize."
Lochte on Saturday said he "over-exaggerated" his story and apologized. He had claimed a gun was cocked and placed to his forehead, but said Saturday that wasn't true, but a gun was pulled on the group.
Feigen is the last of the four swimmers to recount their version of what transpired after a night of partying, in which the swimmers were confronted by an armed security guard and told they needed to pay for damages or else police would be called.
The armed man was a security guard, but Feigen said he and the others didn't know that at first. The guard pulled a gun on the swimmers as they walked away from a cab and ordered them to sit down, he said.
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"This was the first time I have ever had a gun pointed at me and I was terrified," Feigen said.
Feigen was also the last of the four to be allowed to leave Brazil. He surrendered his passport as investigators were looking into the robbery claim and statements given to police.
By the time a judge ordered Lochte and Feigen to remain in Brazil, Lochte had already left. Feigen eventually paid almost $11,000 to a sports foundation and was allowed to leave Brazil. Feigen returned to the U.S. Saturday.
The other swimmers, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, were pulled off a plane late Wednesday and questioned but were later allowed to leave.
While Feigen apologized in the statement released Tuesday, he also seemed to raise questions about the Brazilian legal process.
He said when he was questioned by police, his statement was written in Portuguese and he was asked to sign it without the statement being translated to English.
Feigen also said he was given an option to pay a fine rather than wait the month in Brazil for the investigation to conclude, but the amount first suggested was the equivalent of $31,250 and 15 days of community service.
When Feigen and his attorneys rejected that offer as unreasonable, the prosecutor increased the proposed fine to the equivalent of $46,875, he said. The smaller agreement was eventually reached.
"I am so sorry for the drama this has caused in everyone's lives," Feigen said. "I am very thankful to be home in the United States with my family and that this ordeal has come to an end."
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