There's always the scant possibility that Ryan Lochte didn't know what, exactly, was going on in the moment.
As he reiterated multiple times to Matt Lauer during his days-late attempt to right the wrong perpetrated on the Brazilian and the American people by his actions, he was "intoxicated" when he and USA Swimming teammates James Feigen, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz stopped in to use a gas station bathroom on their way back from a party and ended up leaving the bathroom in a state of vandalized disarray.
But Lochte didn't look drunk when he told Billy Bush the next day that he and the other guys had been robbed at gunpoint by a man posing as a cop who bumped into the taxi the swimmers were riding in to get them to stop—a horror story come to life for anyone spooked by pre-Olympics headlines about crime run amok in Rio. And he presumably wasn't drunk three days later when, from his home in North Carolina, he repeated the majority of the story to Lauer on the phone but altered a few details, such as where, exactly, the robber was pointing the gun.
Never mind that the foursome were caught on surveillance video looking perfectly jolly when they returned to the Olympic Village a little after 6 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 14, after supposedly being mugged.
Which brings us to a simple question: How delusional does a person have to be to believe that he can get away, in this technological age, with telling the media, with telling police, with telling government officials—heck, even with telling his mom—a big, splashy public lie?