American Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte has lost all four of his major sponsors following his apology for an “exaggerated” story about being robbed at gunpoint at the Rio Games – and comedian Steven Colbert was quick to pounce.
The U.S. Olympic Committee issued an apology on Thursday, and Lochte, a 12-time Olympic medalist, made his own apology on Saturday in an interview with Brazil’s largest broadcaster, Globo TV.
“I wasn’t lying to a certain extent,” he said. “I over-exaggerated what was happening to me.”
Within hours of the Games Closing Ceremony, swimwear maker Speedo USA was the first sponsor to announce it was dropping Lochte and luxury retailer Ralph Lauren quickly followed by saying it would not be renewing its contract either.
Hair removal company Syneron Candela also ended its partnership with Lochte, four months after naming him its global brand ambassador for one of its products. And after first saying it would stand-by Lochte, Japanese mattress maker Airweave has also dropped him.
“I was immature and I made a stupid mistake. I’m human. I made a mistake and I definitely learned from this,” Lochte said in an interview on the Today show.
“They (the people of Rio) put on a great Games… And my immature, intoxicated behaviour tarnished that a little,” he said.
Lochte, 32, won one gold medal at the Rio Olympics. He was the breakout star of the 2012 London Olympics, landing a short-lived reality TV series called “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?” and appearing, as himself, on top shows such as “30 Rock” and “90210.”
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