The swimmers attempted to flee in the waiting cab, but the driver had allegedly been instructed by the security guards to stay put. Reports indicate that the swimmers handed over cash to pay for the damages and then left the scene.
IOC spokesman Mario Andrada, who has given some amazing quotes during the Games, glossed over the entitlement of their actions when he spoke Thursday. "Let's give these kids a break," he said. "Sometimes you take actions that you later regret. They had fun, they made a mistake, it's part of life. Life goes on." His statement may lead many to forget that one of those kids, Lochte, is 32.
Bentz and Conger were released by Rio authorities after they were pulled off the plane but were instructed to stay in Rio to continue discussions. According to the Associated Press, they were the ones who first told the Rio authorities that the story had been fabricated.
The alleged fabrications paint Lochte as the hero, but if the current allegations are true, he appears to be the villain of this story.
UPDATE 8:31pm ET:
ABC is reporting that the swimmers insist their story is true and that the police are lying about "certain aspects" of the case. That conflicts with earlier reports that Bentz and Conger told the police the story was a fabrication.
Additionally, ESPN reports that Lochte and Feigen have not been indicted. Veloso told the outlet that the swimmers may still face charges, but those won't come until after the investigation has been completed. Police have only recommended charges at this point.
Veloso also said, though Brazilian police said otherwise earlier in the day, the security guards did use a gun to control the situation. He also stated that the athletes refused to wait for police to arrive at the scene and offered to pay the equivalent of $51 American dollars to pay for damage to the bathroom door and mirrors.
UPDATE 11:32pm ET:
The USOC and USOC Scott Blackmun have released a statement, saying that Bentz and Conger have had their passports returned and they boarded flights to the United States. Feigen has provided the Brazilian authorities with a revised statement and hopes to have his passport returned soon.
Blackmun continued, "As we understand it, the four athletes... left France House early in the morning of August 14 in a taxi headed to the Olympic Village. They stopped at a gas station to use the restroom, where one of the athletes committed an act of vandalism. An argument ensued between the athletes and two armed gas station security staff, who displayed their weapons, ordered the athletes from their vehicle, and demanded the athletes provide a monetary payment. Once the security officials received money from the athletes, the athletes were allowed to leave.
"The behavior of these athletes is not acceptable, nor does it represent the values of Team USA or the conduct of the vast majority of its members. We will further review the matter, and any potential consequences for the athletes, when we return to the United States.
"On behalf of the United States Olympic Committee, 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."