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USA Swimming Director Chuck Wielgus: Rio Vandalism Controversy Is ‘Upsetting’

USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus has released a statement following the confirmation that Ryan Lochte and some of his fellow Olympic teammates vandalized a gas station in Rio de Janeiro.

“The last five days have been difficult for our USA Swimming and United States Olympic families. While we are thankful our athletes are safe, we do not condone the lapse in judgement and conduct that led us to this point. It is not representative of what is expected as Olympians, as Americans, as swimmers and as individuals,” Wielgus said in a statement to Us Weekly on Thursday, August 18.

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USA National Swimming Team members Jack Conger (left) and Gunnar Bentz are escorted through the international terminal at Miami International Airport upon their arrival to the United States from Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 19, 2016.

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“That this is drawing attention away from Team USA’s incredible accomplishments in the water and by other athletes across the Olympic Games is upsetting. The athletes and their remarkable stories should be the focus,” he continued. “We’re extremely thankful of the support and efforts from the USOC, Department of State and U.S. Consulate General throughout this process. USA Swimming will undergo a thorough review of the incident and determine any further actions, per our Code of Conduct.”

Chuck Wielgus, executive director of USA Swimming, answers a reporter’s question during a news conference at the U.S. Olympic team trials in Omaha, NE, on June 24, 2016.

As previously reported, Lochte, 32, and three other Olympians — Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen — claimed that they were robbed at gunpoint on Sunday, August 14. However, Brazilian officials said they could not find any evidence that the incident happened, and it was later confirmed on Thursday that the swimmers “fabricated” the robbery to cover up their involvement in an altercation at the gas station. The men allegedly tore down a sign and damaged a door in the gas station bathroom.

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Bentz, 20, Conger, 21, and Feigen, 26, were detained at a Rio airport for questioning and admitted to fabricating the story; Lochte returned to the U.S. amid the scandal. Brazilian officials have recommended indictment for reporting a false crime.

Lochte’s lawyer, Jeffrey Ostrow, released a statement on the matter Thursday. “I am not aware of the federal police recommending charges for filing a false report. I am not surprised to hear it, though,” he said in a statement to ABC News.

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The controversy could cost Lochte millions in the fallout. According to Forbes, he could lose at least $5 million to 10 million in the future in lucrative endorsements.

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