MICHAEL PHELPS ADDRESSES RYAN LOCHTE DRAMA
Michael Phelps has addressed Ryan Lochte's involvement in the Rio robbery scandal, but has he spoken to his USA teammate since leaving the Olympics?
E! News has the exclusive video of Phelps speaking out about the incident for the first time. "I haven't spoken to him at all," the 31-year-old swimmer said when asked if he's heard from Lochte after Rio.
As for whether he thinks the controversy will work itself out, Phelps said, "We have good people taking care of it, so hopefully."
Phelps arrived back on American soil Wednesday morning, just days after Lochte and three other Team USA swimmers became the focus of the alleged robbery.
He was spotted leaving a Scottsdale, Ariz., Starbucks when he addressed the news. Despite the rough couple of days for the US swim team, an on-looker tells us Phelps seemed relaxed during his coffee run, stopping to thank fans as they congratulated him on his athletic performance at the Summer Games in Brazil.
Meanwhile, the details of what really happened with Lochte and the three other U.S. swimmers—James Feigen, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz—last weekend finally emerged on Thursday.
A Brazilian police official told the Associated Press that Congar and Bentz—who were detained on an airplane leaving Rio on Wednesday night—came forward and told authorities the robbery was, in fact, "fabricated."
Instead, the official revealed Lochte and his fellow swimmers stopped at a gas station to use the restroom. When they discovered the bathroom door was locked, a couple of them ended up breaking it down. A security guard then confronted them about the incident.
The gas station manager arrived shortly thereafter and used another customer to translate, asking the swimmers to pay for the damages they had caused. Brazilian officials told ABC the swimmers eventually ended up giving him 100 reals (or about $30) and an additional $20 to account.
Lochte issued a statement on social media Friday morning regarding the controversy.
"I want to apologize for my behavior last weekend—for not being more careful and candid in how I described the events of that early morning and for my role in taking the focus away from the many athletes fulfilling their dreams of participating in the Olympics," he said.
As for why he hadn't spoken publicly sooner, Lochte explained, "I waited to share these thoughts until it was confirmed that the legal situation was addressed and it was clear that my teammates would be arriving home safely. It's traumatic to be out late with your friends in a foreign country—with a language barrier—and have a stranger point a gun at you and demand money to let you leave, but regardless of the behavior of anyone else that night, I should have been much more responsible in how I handled myself and for that am sorry to my teammates, my fans, my fellow competitors, my sponsors and the hosts of this great event."
He continued, "I am very proud to represent my country in Olympic competition and this was a situation that could and should have been avoided. I accept responsibility for my role in this happening and have learned from valuable lessons."