Two of U.S.A.’s medaling swimmers say they feel for teammate Ryan Lochte amid the continued backlash surrounding his fabricated robbery, but wish the incident hadn’t detracted from America’s Olympic success.
“It’s a bummer,” Maya DiRado tells PEOPLE in a Facebook Live interview. “We wish that that hadn’t taken attention away from our week of swimming because it was a phenomenal week for Team U.S.A. and U.S. swimming, and it was a phenomenal week on week two for those athletes on track and field.”
DiRado, who earned four medals – including two golds – in Rio, continues, “It was unfortunate that that kind of became a story.”
“I made that up,” he said. “The part that I made up was saying that it was a robbery. I think the word ‘robbery’ shocked a lot of people, and the story went viral after that. A gun was pulled, and we had to give them cash. If I didn’t say ‘robbery,’ none of this would have happened.”
The incident led Rio police to accuse Lochte and fellow swimmer Jimmy Feigen of filing a false police report, which carries up to a six month prison sentence. Feigen paid $11,000 to be donated to a charity in order to not face charges. The pair’s other companions on the night of the incident, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, do not face charges but were pulled off a plane for questioning last week when they attempted to head back to the U.S.
“Most of us on the team were in the dark were about even what happened and what’s still going on,” Conor Dwyer tells PEOPLE, Monday. “It was tragic that the last week of the games that’s all they’re talking about and we don’t want that to reflect poorly on U.S.A. swimming.”
Dwyer, who left Rio with a bronze and gold medal – the latter of which he earned swimming in a relay with Lochte – adds, “We feel for Ryan, he’s a good guy and hopefully this will turn around.”
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Lochte told PEOPLE that he’s called Bentz, Conger and Feigen to apologize. “I told them, ‘My immature behavior was stupid, and I’m sorry that I got you guys in this mess.’ They were like, ‘Of course. We just hope that this blows over soon.'”
The swimmer has since been dropped by sponsors Speedo and Ralph Lauren, and is facing further action from the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Nathan Adrian, who won four medals from the U.S. swim team, also commented on the controversy, Monday, in an interview with Hollywood Today Live.
“I’m certainly surprised,” Adrian said of the incident. “I think he regrets what happened and he’s certainly looking forward to the future to figure out how to get back on top of the game.”