Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat: Ryan Lochte is a big time bozo. A gold medal bozo, if you will.
With a gray dye-job, looking somewhat like a Millennial Mike Pence, Lochte, accompanied by other members of the United States swim team, decided to hit the town in Rio de Janeiro. The usual sequence of events on a “guys’ night out” involves a series of bars, a late night food stop and a bed or floor to sleep it off.
It usually doesn’t involve trashing gas station bathrooms in Olympic host countries.
So it went with Lochte and Co, and after claims of being robbed at gunpoint—and subsequent recounts of the events varying wildly from the original statement—Lochte finally owned up to “exaggerating” the story and issued a lukewarm apology for his behavior.
Attention, World: We’re sorry, too.
It’s one thing to make a fool of yourself in a foreign country, but it’s another to embarrass your entire nation—and compound that embarrassment by concocting a false story to cover your own immature and illegal actions.
In a Saturday interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer, Lochte—with a toned-down hairstyle and hue—again expressed his regret for his actions, but the disgrace he’s brought his nation will never fade. When you set foot in another country you are a default ambassador—especially as an Olympian—and the damage Lochte has done to his reputation and the United States will cost far more than repairs in a gas station bathroom. It will taint his legacy forever.