As the Ryan Lochte saga takes more twists and turns than a relay race – the U.S. swimmer has gone from sympathetic victim to immature phony in a matter of days – it’ll be interesting to see what happens to all parties involved going forward.
“I think there will be a punishment from the IOC and the USOC,” USA Today writer Martin Rogers said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “How that affects them in terms of actual competition, who knows? I think the real sad fallout is the relations between the U.S. and Brazil. I don’t think this is going to be a huge diplomatic incident, but it’s just sad. The Brazilian people and the Brazilian government are hurt by this. This is a sensitive subject here. Brazil wants to be thought of well in the international eye. It’s been beaten around all over the place in the lead-up to the Games because of the preparation and the Zika virus and all this kind of stuff. The conduct of the police is a sore topic in this country.”
Lochte and his teammates claimed they were robbed at gunpoint in the middle of the night. As it turns out, the story was likely fabricated to cover up a rowdy night of drinking that ended with the Olympians vandalizing a gas station.
“Now if the police go out and do something wrong, that’s one thing,” Rogers said. “But if a high-profile swimmer comes out and makes something up, like it very much seems has been the case now, then it’s a huge embarrassment. It’s an embarrassment for Brazil and you can see why they’re pissed off about it. I think it’s a shame. I think it’s a shame that the back end of this Olympic Games, the main narrative, has been the actions of these idiots rather than the incredible achievements of the athletes on the track or in the pool or wherever else.”
Given the apocalyptic reports coming out of Rio in the weeks and months leading up to the Olympics, many people felt the Games should have been moved due to safety concerns. While the reports may have been slightly overblown, athletes, media and tourists must remain aware of their surroundings.
“There’s stuff going on,” Rogers said. “This isn’t a perfect country. It has social problems. There has been some stuff stolen. It’s a place where you have to be careful. During the day, you can act here like it’s anywhere else in the world. But if you go out at 4 o’clock in the morning and you enter a dodgy part of town, then yes, you might get some stuff stolen – like you might in difficult parts of L.A. or New York or elsewhere. So look, it’s the kind of place where you need to keep your wits about you. Not everyone has done that. There has been some repercussions of that. But for the most part, everyone I’ve met down here – all the American tourists I’ve met or people who have visited – have had a tremendous time.”