Police in Rio say they have found no evidence to support Ryan Lochte's claim that he and three other swimmers—Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen—were robbed at gunpoint while in Brazil last weekend for the 2016 Olympics. Police have been unable to locate their taxi driver or witnesses, and said the athletes have been unable to provide key details in interviews.
The swimmers previously told U.S. Olympic Committee officials they left France House and were being driven home Sunday when "their taxi was stopped by individuals posing as armed police officers who demanded the athletes' money and other personal belongings." All four swimmers were unharmed, though Lochte's mom had said they were all shaken. "We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing—just a police badge—and they pulled us over," Lochte later told Billy Bush on NBC's Today. "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 cell phone. He left my credentials."
After talking to the USOC and the Rio police department, Lochte took to Instagram and Twitter. "I want to thank all of my family, friends and fans for the overwhelming support and concern I have received today," he wrote. "While it is true that my teammates and I were the victims of a robbery early Sunday morning, what is most important is that we are safe and unharmed. "I am honored to have represented the U.S. here at the Rio Olympics and to win Gold for my country alongside my teammates. I look forward to getting home so that I can begin to map out the plans for my future with an eye on representing #TeamUSA at the #2020 Tokyo Olympics."
The swimmers did not call police, authorities later said. They only began investigating after seeing media reports in which Lochte's mother had discussed the robbery. Police interviewed Lochte and one other swimmer, who said they had been intoxicated and could not recall details about the taxi they were driven in, or where the robbery happened, a police official told the AP. The athletes could not say what time the events occurred, or when they left the French House.
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Lochte's lawyer, Jeff Ostrow, told the Associated Press Tuesday that there was no doubt the robbery happened. He said Lochte had not left his hotel room since the alleged incident, and the 12-time Olympic medalist had hired additional security for the duration of his stay in Rio. "This happened the way he described it," Ostrow said (via NBC Connecticut). "Ryan was a hundred percent cooperative and fully available when they reached out to us for an interview."
Ostrow added, "It doesn't behoove Ryan and anyone else to make up a story."
Lochte signed a statement on Monday confirming the facts he provided, his lawyer said.
"I know that Ryan didn't want this to turn into what it did," Lochte's lawyer told USA Today Sports. "The Olympics are more important and Team USA's performances are more important."
Lochte swam in two events this year, winning gold in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay.
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