Why did he make up the story? Obviously to cover up the fact that he was caught doing something stupid and wrong - specifically, vandalizing a gas station restroom (can someone say "trailer park"?).
This isn't the first time American Olympic athletes have ended up in trouble with the local police. At Seoul in 1988, two gold medal swimmers were arrested trying to steal a piece of wall decor from a hotel bar.
Why is it always swimmers? Because the swimming events are finished after the first week of the Games. Once an athlete finishes competing, it's party time - and anyone serious about swimming in the Olympics probably hasn't tasted beer in over a year.
While it's then understandable that an athlete in that situation would need to blow off a considerable amount of steam, it's certainly no excuse. Lochte isn't some drunken frat boy - he's 32, for Christ's sake. He has a history of "badboy" behavior that he hasn't seemed to grow out of yet. And he wasted no time in getting the hell out of Rio and leaving his three accomplices hanging.
Maybe things would go a whole lot better for him if he'd just come out and quit playing these stupid games. It's the 21st century, Ryan; no one gives a shit that you're gay.
Writing from Rio, by the way.