Famous American swimmer Ryan Lochte claimed he and three of his Olympic teammates were robbed after a night of partying, but according to Brazilian police, they actually just drunkenly vandalized a toilet at a gas station and were questioned by armed guards before paying for the damage and leaving.
Lochte’s three teammates were Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and James Feigen, who are less well known and participated only in the heats of the relays at the games.
The false claim about the robbery is now the biggest news story to happen in the periphery of this year’s games in Rio.
It has been an international embarrassment for American athletes, and a negative PR incident for Brazil, a country who has been trying to keep the public optimistic about the safety in Rio because of its violent history.
- The story began on the night of August 14th.
- Lochte claimed that on that night they were robbed at gunpoint, by thieves disguised as cops.
- He even included the detail that he had a gun pointed at his head but refused to get on the ground.
- When it was investigated later, CCTV footage proved that this never happened.
- In fact, evidence proved that they had vandalized a toilet at a gas station.
- Rio’s civilian police chief Fernando Veloso stated that, “No robbery was committed against these athletes. They were not victims of the crimes they claimed.”
- Apparently, one or more of the swimmers were behaving erratically and one of the guards at the station had to draw his weapon.
- According to Veloso, they could, in theory, be charged with vandalism and for giving false testimony.
- The US Olympic Committee put out a statement saying that “the behaviour of these athletes is not acceptable, nor does it represent the values of Team USA.”
- Lochte left Brazil on Tuesday. Bentz and Conger were questioned by police today, but are now allowed to leave. Feigen was detained and has agreed to pay $11,000 to an unknown Brazilian charity.
For much better news about American Olympians, see our story about the inspiring Muslim-American fencer competing at Rio 2016 wearing a hijab.