Tuesday 21 November 2017

Ryan Lochte and other US swimmers 'were not robbed in Rio'

Ryan Lochte pictured during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Olympics in Rio (AP)
Ryan Lochte pictured during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Olympics in Rio (AP)
American Olympic swimmers Gunnar Bentz, left, and Jack Conger, centre, leave the police station at Rio International Airport (AP)

Ryan Lochte fabricated a story about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro along with three team-mates, officials said - but they later acknowledged security guards had pointed guns at the swimmers.

The alleged robbery has become the biggest spectacle outside of the Olympic venues in Rio.

"No robbery was committed against these athletes. They were not victims of the crimes they claimed," Civil Police chief Fernando Veloso said during an afternoon news conference on Thursday.

Lochte, along with fellow swimmers Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen, stopped at a petrol station in Barra da Tijuca, a suburb of Rio where many Olympic venues are located.

They had been at the French hospitality house celebrating the final night of swimming events at the Rio Games.

A Brazilian police official told The Associated Press that two of the swimmers said Lochte had made the story up.

The official said the swimmers had tried to open a door at the petrol station but it was jammed. They broke the door, and a security guard came to investigate.

Then, the official said, the station manager demanded money to pay for the door. The swimmers handed over money and left.

Hours later, the official changed the story and said two security guards pointed guns at the swimmers. The change in the version of events came after police interviewed one of the security guards on Thursday.

The official said the swimmers broke the bathroom door and a soap dispenser inside.

Workers at the petrol station went to see what the commotion was about, the official said. At that point, a security guard also came and confronted the swimmers, and pointed a gun. A second guard came behind him and pointed another gun.

Lochte's lawyer, Jeff Ostrow, has maintained that there is no question the robbery occurred.


Press Association

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