Olympian Ryan Lochte fabricated robbery story, Brazilian officials say
Closed circuit footage reportedly shows a swimmer breaking door at gas station, fighting with guard
By Seth Kelley, Variety.com
LOS ANGELES — New reports from Brazilian officials indicate that Ryan Lochte made up a story about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio.
One police official, who spoke to the AP under the condition of anonymity, said that Lochte, as well as the other swimmers on the U.S. Olympic team — Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz, and Jimmy Feigen — were at a gas station the same night that they claimed to have been robbed.
According to the official, one of the swimmers tried and failed to open an outside bathroom door. The swimmers then pushed on and broke the door, prompting a guard to confront them. The store manager asked the swimmers to pay for the broken door, which they did, and then left.
A police source also told ABC News a similar story: “One of the swimmers was seen on CCTV footage breaking down the door to the bathroom at the gas station and fighting with a security guard,” the source said.
This police report is different from the story Lochte told after conflicting reports surfaced on Sunday morning. Conger and Bentz also allegedly confirmed to police that Lochte’s story was a lie.
The swimmer told NBC’s Billy Bush that he and the three other swimmers had been pulled over by fake police officers and robbed at gunpoint on Saturday night.
“We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge — a police badge — no lights, no nothing,” Lochte recalled. “Just a police badge and they pulled us over. They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground — they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like, ‘We didn’t do anything wrong, so — I’m not getting down on the ground.’ And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, ‘get down’ and I put my hands up. I was like ‘whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet — he left my cellphone, he left my credentials.”
Lochte’s mother, IIeana Lochte, first broke the news to USA Today, prompting news coverage and police attention. Mark Adams, the International Olympic Committee spokesman, called the report “absolutely not true.”
On Wednesday a judge ordered Lochte to stay in Brazil and issued a search and seizure warrant for the swimmer, but he had already left the country before the police could seize his passport. The passport of Feigen was also requested, and he is reportedly still in Brazil. Conger and Bentz were both removed from their plane on Wednesday night.