Thursday 22 March 2018

'He put the gun to my forehead' - Olympic gold medallist Ryan Lochte held up in Rio

Ryan Lochte
Ryan Lochte

Adam Lusher

The Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Ryan Lochte has confirmed that he has been held up at gunpoint in Rio.

Lochte is now safe and unhurt at the Team USA base.

"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 told NBC News. "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."

The gunpoint incident occurred after Lochte, 32, and three of his American teammates were invited to a party by the Brazilian swimmer Thiago Pereira.

The incident, first reported by Fox News, was denied by the International Olympic Committee, whose spokesman Mark Adams told reporters in Rio: "The story is absolutely not true."

A United States Olympic Committee statement said: "Their taxi was stopped by individuals posing as armed police officers who demanded the athletes' money and other personal belongings. All four athletes are safe and cooperating with authorities."

Lochte won gold on Wednesday in the men’s 4x200 freestyle relay, bringing his total career Olympic medal tally to 12, making him the second most decorated male Olympic swimmer ever, behind only his teammate and fellow relay winner Michael Phelps. 

He tweeted a series of pictures of him and his teammates posing with their medals, calling it "an amazing night" and saying: "Four Olympics straight we've won this relay.  So humbled to be part of this movement."

Lochte won his first Olympic gold medal in the 4x200 men’s freestyle relay in Athens in 2004.  He also won a silver medal at the Athens games after coming second in the individual 200m relay.

He won gold with a world record time in the 200m backstroke at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where he also picked up another relay gold.

At London 2012 he won his third 4x200 freestyle relay gold, and won another gold in the 400m individual medley.  His total Olympic medal tally now stands at six golds, three silvers and three bronzes.

Independent News Service

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