COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The 2016 Summer Olympics have officially wrapped up. Competition wise, it was a banner two weeks with the United States claiming 121 medals, including 46 gold medals. The next nearest nation was China with 70. That success is something all Americans can be proud of.
However, along with the Olympic glory came a source of embarrassment for the U.S. Not for anything that happened on the field of competition, but for an incident at a gas station of all places. Highly decorated Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and three other swimmers got caught up in a story that quickly got way out of hand. The swimmers claimed they were robbed at gunpoint. It immediately made headlines around the world. However, it turns out their story was far from the whole truth.
After an exhaustive investigation, Rio police say the swimmers actually vandalized a bathroom and, when confronted, by police were forced to pay for the damage.
After being exposed, Lochte finally came clean and admitted he had "exaggerated" his story.
There is a lesson to be learned in all this. Americans, particularly our youth, watch the Olympians and look to them as more than athletes. Their behavior sets the tone for how we conduct ourselves in similar situations.
Lochte and his fellow swimmers not only set a bad example, he cost himself multiple lucrative endorsement deals. Now, when someone searches his name, not only will they learn about his Olympic glory, but also a regrettable incident forever attached to his legacy.
It would have been much simpler had the swimmers just admitted from the beginning that they had made a mistake and that they were sorry for juvenile behavior. People would have forgiven them and immediately moved on. Instead, by concocting a story…it turned into an international incident.
Take your pill and swallow it. It may taste bitter in the short term, but it's better than a lifetime of infamy for the wrong decision.
That's My Take, What's Yours?