Rio 2016: Team USA apologises for swimmers’ false gunpoint robbery claims


The US Olympic Committee has been forced to apologise for the behaviour of two US swimmers who fabricated a story about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio.

Ryan Lochte and Jimmy Feigen claimed that they were robbed at gunpoint, along with two other US simmers Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, after their taxi was stopped.

Lochte held a press conference after the apparent incident and told journalists how he had a gun pressed against his head but bravely stood up to the men, who were disguised as police officers.

However, security footage has since emerged that appears to show the four swimmers sat on the pavement outside a petrol station in Barra da Tijuca, 16km (10 miles) from the Olympic Park, after vandalising a toilet door and clashing with staff. CCTV footage from their hotel also showed them walking through security and handing over the wallets and phones, that they claimed had been stolen.

Whilst the games are still ongoing, with better than ever offers for new customers on Coral for the final few activities, Lochte is accused of bringing the whole event into disrepute.

Rio’s civil police head Fernando Veloso said the four Olympic gold medallists had not been robbed and they had fabricated their stories in an attempt to distract from their own behaviour.

He said:

“No robbery was committed against these athletes. They were not victims of the crimes they claimed.”

After the video footage emerged and contradicted the swimmers’ claims, a Rio judge ordered their passports to be seized until the truth could be uncovered.

On Wednesday, Bentz and Conger were removed from a US-bound plane at Rio airport, and Feigen was also brought in for questioning, but Lochte had already left the country.

Bentz and Conger have since flown back to the US after denying any involvement in the false robbery claim, but Feigen remains in Rio as his passport is still held by Brazilian authorities.

On Friday morning, Feigen’s lawyer Breno Melaragno announced that the swimmer had agreed to a settlement with Brazilian authorities, where “he will donate 35,000 reais ($10,800) to an institute, and with that the case is resolved…and he will be free to return home.”

Following the revelations about what really happened, the US Olympic Committee made a public apology for the actions of its athletes.

USOC CEO Scott Blackmun added:

“The behavior of these athletes is not acceptable, nor does it represent the values of Team USA or the conduct of the vast majority of its members. We will further review the matter, and any potential consequences for the athletes, when we return to the United States.

“On behalf of the United States Olympic Committee, we apologize to our hosts in Rio and the people of Brazil for this distracting ordeal in the midst of what should rightly be a celebration of excellence.”



Comments are closed.