Gunnar Bentz, one of the United States Olympic swimmers involved in the Ryan Lochte robbery scandal, is speaking out.
"I want to offer a sincere apology to the United States Olympic Committee, USA Swimming, the extraordinary women and men of Team USA, and the University of Georgia. Being a member of the Olympic Swimming Team was an honor and a dream come true. The accomplishments of my teammates were awe-inspiring and I'm so pleased I got to see them up close. I regret this situation has drawn attention away from the Olympics, which have been hosted so incredibly well by Brazil and its citizens," he said in a statement.
"While I am anxious to put this matter behind me and rejoin my Georgia teammates in classes, practices and competitions, I feel compelled to stress several key points: 1. I was never a suspect in the case from the beginning (Brazilian law enforcement officials saw me only as a witness). 2. I never made a false statement to anyone at any time."
Gunnar shared his version of events that night and explained how on the way back to Olympic Village, he, Lochte, James Feigen and Jack Conger "pulled into a convenience store to use the restroom."
"There was no restroom inside, so we foolishly relieved ourselves on the backside of the building behind some bushes. There was a locked door out back and I did not witness anyone breaking it open. I am unsure why, but while we were in that area, Ryan pulled to the ground a framed metal advertisement that was loosely anchored to the brick wall. I then suggested to everyone that we needed to leave the area and we returned to the taxi."
After two armed guards approached the swimmers, an altercation erupted between Lochte and one of the two men.
"Again, I cannot speak to his actions, but Ryan stood up and began to yell at the guards. After Jack and I both tugged at him in an attempt to get him to sit back down, Ryan and the security guards had a heated verbal exchange, but no physical contact was made."
Gunnar concluded by thanking his fans, family and friends for their support and said, "Without question, I am taking away a valuable life lesson from this situation. In everything I do, I am representing my family, my country and my school. I will not take that responsibility lightly."