Rio police say U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte lied about gunpoint robbery



U.S. Olympic Swimmer Ryan Lochte is seen during the Swimming Press Conference of team USA at the Main Press Center at Olympic Park Barra prior to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Aug. 3, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro. (Michael Kappeler/DPA/Abaca Press/TNS)

By Nathan Fenno | Los Angeles Times

RIO DE JANEIRO — Ryan Lochte fabricated a story about a gunpoint robbery earlier this week and was actually involved in a scuffle at a gas station, Brazilian police officials told the Associated Press on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Brazilian police told ABC News that there is a tape showing Lochte or one of the three U.S. swimming teammates he was with breaking down a door to a bathroom and then fighting with a security guard early Sunday morning. Police confirmed to The Times that a tape does exist and that it was being analyzed.

Lochte told NBC earlier this week that the swimmers stopped at a gas station and were robbed at gunpoint when they returned to their taxi.


On Wednesday night, Brazilian authorities pulled swimmers Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger off their flight back to the United States. They were released after promising to cooperate with police. A third swimmer, James Feigen was also being sought by police and has agreed to be interviewed.

Lochte had earlier returned to the U.S.

“The three U.S. Olympic swimmers (Bentz, Conger and Feigen) are cooperating with authorities and in the process of scheduling a time and place today to provide further statements to the Brazilian authorities,” USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in a statement Thursday. “All are represented by counsel and being appropriately supported by the USOC and the U.S. Consulate in Rio.”

Lochte, the 12-time Olympic medalist who gave a dramatic account of the incident earlier this week in an interview with NBC, tempered his initial statements in a follow-up discussion with the network Wednesday. He said a gun was aimed in the direction of the swimmers, not pressed against his head.

Brazilian authorities have questioned the consistency in accounts of what occurred.

The swimmers said in a previous statement issued by the USOC that they were robbed of wallets and personal items by armed individuals posing as police officers during a taxi ride from France’s hospitality venue back to the Olympic Village.

Local authorities arrived at the Village on Wednesday to collect Feigen and Lochte’s passports and question them further, but the U.S. swimming team had already departed.
The ongoing incident has presented an unwelcome distraction for organizers of the troubled Summer Olympics, already beset by issues with logistics, venues and security. The closing ceremony for the Games is Sunday.
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