Someday, once all the facts are in,someonewill diligently and responsibly break down the Ryan Lochte controversy.
Today is not that day.
Instead, we will speculate, because this story is just too ridiculousnot to speculate over, particularly when it comes to one simple question: how the hell did Ryan Lochte come up with astory about getting robbed by fake police, if what really happened was a dispute at a gas station?
Well, we can’t tell you how, but we can say one thing. Interestingly, there are a lot of elements in Lochte’s “fake” story that appear in thepolice’sversion of the events and are supported by video evidence.
In fact, this is starting to seem an awful lot like Lochte just got drunk and told an exaggerated version of what happened.
— T.J. Holmes (@tjholmes) August 18, 2016
Here’s what Lochte told NBC News:
NBC News (@NBCNews) August 14, 2016
On Wednesday, however, Lochte changed his story and gave a slightly different account to Matt Lauer. Here’s how Lauer described Lochte’s amended version of events on the “Today” show, via Business Insider:
They had gone to the bathroom in a gas station. They got back to the taxi, and when they told the taxi driver to go, he didn’t move. He said, ‘let’s go,’ again, ‘we’ve got to get out of here.’ And again the taxi driver didn’t move, and that’s when he says two men approached the car with guns and badges, told them to get out, to get on the ground.
If we strip down Lauer’s quote line by line, it makes for an interesting comparison between what Lochte said happened and what is shown on the security video from the gas station, which was shared by Brazilian broadcaster Globo.
Don’t believe us? Just watch.
“They had gone to the bathroom in a gas station.”
This, of course, is true, though it doesn’t seem to tell the whole story.
In the picture above, Lochte (silver hair) and his teammates are shown exiting the bathroom. The photo also appears to show Lochte pointing backwards at the bathroom with his thumb, while looking at an employee.
In the video, an employee seems to remove broken material from the bathroom after the swimmers exit the facilities, which falls in line with reports that the teammates had recklessly damaged the bathroom.
“They got back to the taxi…”
In the next phase of the video, the swimmers are indeed shown heading to their taxi. At one point, one of the swimmers even appears to mistake another person’s taxis for his own.
But they eventually make their way to their car, on the right.
“…and when they told the taxi driver to go, he didn’t move.”
This is where it all gets interesting.
The swimmers are clearly inside the taxi, but the driverhas yet to enter the car.
A few seconds later, the driver appears to be talking to a gas station employee.
“He said, ‘let’s go,’ again, ‘we’ve got to get out of here.’ And again the taxi driver didn’t move…”
After an apparent conversation with an employee, the driver seems to bend down to talk to the swimmersin the backseat of the taxi.
But the driver eventually gets into the driver’s seat.
“…and that’s when he says two men approached the car with guns and badges.”
Before the taxi can even attempt to drive off, a man in black approaches the driver’s side of the car.
This falls in line with the version of the story Lochte told Lauer, but not with the version the swimmer had initially told NBC News, in which heand his teammates were “pulled over.”
Though the full figure of a second man approaching the vehicle doesn’t fully appear, there seems to be a moment in which a person ever so slightly enters the right side of the camera’s frame, tothe right of the taxi’s hood.
Still, it doesn’t seem like a gun was flashed at this point.
In his first account to NBC News, Lochte said men posing as police made them get out of the car.
“…[the two men] told them to get out, to get on the ground.”
The camera footagefast forwards a few minutes and shows the swimmersgetting out of the car. At one point, you can see a swimmer raising his hands not only once…
Later, a differentcamera angle shows the swimmerssittingon the ground. Lochte (glowing hair), appears to be the last to sit.
Lochte eventually stands up,while seemingly being encouraged by his two teammates, who put their hands on him, to sit down.
But in the last scene from this angle, it appears Lochte is having a conversation, perhaps negotiating with the men who prevented him from leaving the gas station.
In Globo’s report, there’s mention of security drawing a gun and putting a hand on Lochte’s chest, before pushing him to the ground.
— NYT Sports (@NYTSports) August 18, 2016
It’s also worth noting Lochte and teammate Jimmy Feigen continue their denials.
Citing sources “directly connected to Lochte,”TMZ reportedLochte still claims he did not lie, and that during three minutes that were missing from the released footage, the swimmers were pulled out of the taxi at gunpoint.
There does seem to be about three minutes missing between the frame that shows the men approaching the car and the frame that showsthe swimmers exiting the car, with one swimmer visibly putting his hands up.
Still, there are a lot of difference betweenwhat was actually shown on camera and the very first account Lochte gave to NBC News. That story is looking more and more like a dramatic exaggeration that could have been affected by the fact that he was drunk during the episode.
Ryan Lochte and Jimmy Feigen have been indicted for falsely reporting a crime in Rio de Janeiro. https://t.co/WWYQusN2Nk
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 18, 2016
And if Lochte’s indictment is any indication, it looks like he told that same drunk story to the police.