That’s exactly correct. Two narratives and both competed for mindshare. I bet a big reason why the “Bro American” narrative seems to have won was that Lochte was a fallible character here. It’s easy to pick on the blond tipped guy who had a reality television show. But that doesn’t make the facts of the story (or the interpretation of the events from the perspective of the athletes) any less true or real.
My guess is you are right — there are numerous situations that are tenuous when 12,000 young, driven, competitive athletes descend on a city. And in a place as fun but also as potentially dangerous as Rio, bad stuff happens. We shouldn’t be surprised when stuff like this happens. In fact, the best thing might be that it was actually really benign. How’s London?