Rio 2016: The Ryan Lochte, U.S. Swimmers Robbery Controversy Is Simplified
Last week, U.S. Olympic swimmers Ryan Lochte, Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger all claimed they were robbed at gunpoint in Rio. Now, several days later, Rio police have reportedly decided to charge the swimmers with false reporting of a crime.
So what the hell happened?
Essentially it appears that our Olympic heroes went out and got wasted, went to a gas station to pee, were told they couldn’t use the bathroom, then decided to pee on the side of the gas station and destruct property while doing so. It was when they got back in their taxi armed security guards came up and demanded payment, presumably for the damages.
This is what appears to have happened. And it would make sense, considering there’s a video of the swimmers returning the Olympic village that morning with credentials and cell phones intact. It also explains why the swimmers couldn’t identify who robbed them or the cab the robber was allegedly driving.
Their behavior was also blasted by the head of USA Swimming, Chuck Wielgus Thursday night.
“While we are thankful our athletes are safe, we do not condone the lapse in judgement and conduct that led us to this point. It is not representative of what is expected as Olympians, as Americans, as swimmers and as individuals,” the statement said …
… In a statement, Lochte’s lawyer, Jeffrey Ostrow, said he wasn’t aware of “the federal police recommending charges for filing a false police report.”
“I am not surprised to hear it though. They’ve gone this far and have failed to acknowledge that the robbery actually took place, so that would be the natural next step,” the statement said. “A gun was pointed at the swimmers and they were forced to get out of their cab and give up their money. No matter what happened at that gas station, the swimmers were robbed by people with a gun appearing to be law enforcement. No matter what country you are in that is robbery and robbery is a serious crime.”
According to Rio’s Civil Police Chief Fernando Velosa, the swimmers vandalized the gas station bathroom by breaking mirrors and other things in the bathroom.
Feigen was still being held by police over night Thursday. He had to pay $11,000 to get his passport back. Lochte escaped the country just before police could detain him.
Here is more video from ABC News. Part of it shows the swimmers doing something at the gas station and the armed security guards approaching them afterwards.
Josh Helmuth is the editor of Crave Sports