Conger apologizes, puts Rio controversy behind him

Michael Shapiro

After a hectic week, senior swimmer Jack Conger’s 2016 Olympic saga appears to be over.

Conger issued an apology on Saturday, coming clean about an incident at a Brazilian gas station involving him and fellow Team USA swimmers Ryan Lochte, Gunnar Bentz and former Longhorn Jimmy Feigen during the summer Olympics.

“I deeply regret the trouble and embarrassment this event has brought to the people of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro, and the distraction it has caused from the achievements of my fellow Olympians,” Conger said in a statement.

Conger’s statement came after a week of rumors, beginning when Lochte claimed the four swimmers were held at gunpoint on their way back to the Olympic village on Aug. 14.
However, Lochte’s story failed to hold up after Brazilian judge Keyla Blanc de Cnop issued an order on Aug. 17 to seize the swimmers’ passports to continue the police investigation. What was originally a harrowing story unraveled rapidly, as footage revealed the swimmers were stopped by a gas station security guard for vandalization rather than held at gunpoint.

Rio authorities recommended charging Lochte and Feigen for falsely reporting the crime.

“This has been an unsettling, humbling and frightening experience,” Conger said. “It’s a reminder that all of us, when we travel and especially when we represent the US in the Olympics, are ambassadors for our country and should be on our best behavior.”

While Conger made most of his Olympic headlines out of the pool, he also earned recognition for winning a gold medal as a member of the United States’ men’s 4×200-meter relay team. Conger swam the fastest split in the event’s preliminary round with a time of 1:45.73.

He will now look to put his Olympic embarrassment behind him.

“I want to express my appreciation to Brazil and Rio de Janeiro and my apologies,” Conger said. “I appreciate the support I have received from my family and friends, as well as the support I’ve received from my teammates and so many others. Now, I am looking forward to getting back into my normal routine of school and swimming.”