Ryan Lochte is finally doing a mea culpa for the lie he told on NBC that's become an international incident ... but he kind of doubled down on the version of events he told cops.
Lochte just posted ... "I want to apologize for my behavior last weekend -- for not being more careful and candid in how I described the events of that early morning and for my role in taking the focus away from the many athletes fulfilling their dreams of participating in the Olympics. I waited to share these thoughts until it was confirmed that the legal situation was addressed and it was clear that my teammates would be arriving home safely."
Lochte continues ... "It's traumatic to be out late with your friends in a foreign country - with a language barrier - and have a stranger point a gun at you and demand money to let you leave, but regardless of the behavior of anyone else that night, I should have been much more responsible in how I handled myself and for that I am sorry to my teammates, my fans, my fellow competitors, my sponsors, and the hosts of this great event."
He goes on to say he's proud to rep the USA in Olympic competition and this was a situation that could and should have been avoided.
He adds, "I accept responsibility for my role in this happening and have learned some valuable lessons. I am grateful for my USA Swimming teammates and the USOC, and appreciate all of the efforts of the IOC, the Rio '16 Host Committee, and the people of Brazil who welcomed us to Rio and worked so hard to make sure that these Olympic Games provided a lifetime of great new memories."
"There has already been too much said and too many valuable resources dedicated to what happened last weekend, so I hope we spend our time celebrating the great stories and performances of these Games and look ahead to celebrating future successes."
The statement is clearly crafted to thwart police efforts to have Lochte prosecuted. The biggest problem the swimmer faces ... going on TV, trashing the city by claiming armed men posed as cops robbed him as he was innocently taking a cab back to the Village.