Ryan Lochte Tells Matt Lauer: ‘I Over-Exaggerated That Story’

By Mark Joyella 

In his first interview since apologizing for saying he and three fellow Team USA swimmers were robbed at gunpoint in Rio, Ryan Lochte told NBC’s Matt Lauer he took “full responsibility” for his “immature behavior.”

Almost a week ago, Lochte told NBC’s Billy Bush he and his fellow swimmers had been robbed by people posing as police officers, one of whom put a cocked handgun to his forehead. After the story was questioned by authorities in Brazil, Lochte revised his story in a phone interview with Lauer, but continued to maintain he had been robbed–and that a gun had been involved.

The story that has since emerged is one of drunken vandalism at a Rio gas station–and security officers who confronted Lochte and his teammates and demanded payment for the damage they had caused. “I over-exaggerated that story,” Lochte said in a clip that aired Saturday on NBC Nightly News. “And if I had never done that, we wouldn’t be in this mess … None of this would have happened. And it was my immature behavior.”

Asked to defend what authorities in Rio have called a fabricated story, Lochte said:

“It’s 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, like, we don’t know,” Lochte responded. “All we know is that there was a gun pointed in our direction, and we were demanded to give money.”

NBC will air more of the interview during Olympics coverage Saturday night and on Today morning morning.