Is Ryan Lochte Lying About Being Robbed At Gunpoint In Rio?
The story just doesn’t add up. According to his mother, Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte was robbed at gunpoint this past weekend along with “at least one of his teammates.” But at the time, The Associated Press said the reports were “absolutely not true,” according to an IOC spokesman.
But then, talking to USA Today Sports on Tuesday, Lochte claimed that yes, he was in fact robbed at gunpoint, but “initially did not tell the U.S. Olympic Committee… ‘because we were afraid we’d get in trouble.'”
Here’s the tale Lochte recounted to USA Today:
We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over,” Lochte said. “They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground — they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn’t do anything wrong, so — I’m not getting down on the ground.
“And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, ‘Get down,’ and I put my hands up, I was like ‘whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet — he left my cell phone, he left my credentials.”
One problem, though: Rio Police claim Lochte and other swimmers are “unable to provide key details” about the incident. Lochte, for example, says he was drunk and couldn’t remember the location of the robbery. Meanwhile, footage clearly shows the swimmers getting back to Olympic Village shortly before 7 in the morning.
Sports Illustrated reports Lochte and his three fellow teammates didn’t report the incident “out of fear they would get in trouble.” So far, officers have been unable to locate the taxi driver, and no witnesses have materialized.
Jeff Ostroy, Lochte’s lawyer, insists the robbery is real: “Ryan was a hundred percent cooperative and fully available when they reached out to us for an interview. It doesn’t behoove Ryan and anyone else to make up a story.”
Brazilian paper O Globo claims police have noted that the players in question — Lochte, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and Jimmy Feigen — provided contradictory details. While Lochte said police stopped their taxi in a fake “police blitz” by armed assailants, Feigen said the taxi first pulled over and that’s when the robbers approached.
Feigen explained away the discrepancy by saying he was asleep at the time of the robbery.
Nevertheless, these conflicting reports might subsequently be used against Lochte and company. Brazilian officials are unwilling to take responsibility for the crime, with Minister of Sports Leonardo Picciano saying, “Certainly no athlete has had any problems where they are staying, during their training or in the Olympic Village.”
The latest development: According to CBS News, Brazilian Judge Keyla Blank has ordered that Lochte and Feigen’s passports be seized while authorities continue to investigate the claims, but Ostroy says Lochte has already returned to the states:
Ryan is safely back in the United States, with his passport. I have no information about the Brazilian authorities attempting to keep him in Brazil for further investigation. I’m shocked to hear that they would go to such measures as he has been nothing but cooperative with authorities, including sitting for a full interview with the Tourist Police, U.S. State Department, USOC Security, FBI, and anyone else that requested to be present. “
Regarding the incident, Lochte posted the following statement to Instagram:
So Lochte was robbed, wasn’t robbed, but was in fact robbed, and his passport was seized, but not before he’d already returned to the states. That’s all we know, but we’ll update after taking some aspirin if any of the confusion gets sorted out.