RIO DE JANEIRO, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 19th August, 2016) - US Olympic authorities apologized to Brazil on Thursday as two US swimmers were allowed to go home having retracted a fabricated story about being mugged in Rio. A third American swimmer who is still in Brazil can leave the country after he paid a donation to an "institution" of nearly $11,000, US broadcaster NBC reported his lawyer as saying early Friday. Four US swimmers, including six gold medal hero Ryan Lochte, have been at the centre of a media storm since claiming they were held up at gunpoint after leaving a party in the early hours of Sunday.
"We apologize to our hosts in Rio and the people of Brazil for this distracting ordeal in the midst of what should rightly be a celebration of excellence," US Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said in a statement. Blackmun spoke after Brazilian police let Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger leave the country. "Their passports have been released and they recently departed Rio," he said. A third swimmer, James Feigen, gave police a "revised statement," Blackmun said.
He agreed to a deal in which he would make a hefty donation to an unspecified group in exchange for permission to leave, NBC said. "After a long deliberation, this agreement was reached... he will donate 35,000 real ($10,800) to an institute, and with that the case is resolved," the broadcaster cited Feigen's lawyer Breno Melaragno as saying. "After this donation is done, his passport will be given back to him, and he will be free to return home.
" Lochte was already back in the United States when the scandal erupted. Lochte said on Sunday that the four had been victims of a robbery by at least one armed assailant posing as a Rio policeman. The claim forced Brazil's Olympics organizers into an apology for the supposed security lapse. Amid growing doubts, however, a Brazilian judge issued an order Wednesday that all four swimmers be kept in Brazil while the story was probed. Brazilian police said Thursday the athletes were drunk and got into an altercation with security staff after vandalizing a gas station bathroom during a night on the town. Blackmun indicated that the athletes, questioned by police Thursday, had confirmed the police version. "They stopped at a gas station to use the restroom, where one of the athletes committed an act of vandalism," the US statement said.