The US Olympic Committee apologized for what it called the “unacceptable behavior” of four American swimmers who falsely said they had been robbed at gunpoint in Rio.
Rio Police questioned three of the gold medal winners and say “they were not victims of the crimes they claimed.” Two of the four – Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger – were allowed to fly out of Rio on Thursday evening. Ryan Lochte had already left, and James Feigen remained in Brazil. Bentz and Conger had been taken off a plane at Rio airport on Wednesday and taken for questioning.
Lochte had initially said the four were robbed at gunpoint when they were returning by taxi from a club. But Rio’s civil police head Fernando Veloso said the four Olympic gold medalists had not been robbed.
“No robbery was committed against these athletes. They were not victims of the crimes they claimed,” he said.
He told reporters that one or more of the athletes had instead vandalized a toilet in a gas station and then offered to pay for the damage. The Americans paid and left after armed security guards intervened, he said.
One guard had drawn his gun after one of the swimmers began behaving erratically, Mr Veloso added. He warned that the swimmers, who had repeatedly changed their accounts of what happened, could “in theory” face charges of giving false testimony and vandalism.
This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.