Ryan Lochte and three other Olympic swimmers were robbed by fake police officers in Rio de Janiero, Lochte confirmed after conflicting reports surfaced on Sunday morning.
In an interview with “Today’s” Billy Bush, Lochte said that he and Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen were pulled over and held at gunpoint. Lochte and the other swimmers left the incident unharmed.
“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 cell phone, he left my credentials.”
International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams called the report “absolutely not true” earlier on Sunday. Lochte’s mother, IIeana Lochte, first broke the news to USA Today.
United States Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in a statement, “According to four members of the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team (Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, Jimmy Feigen and Ryan Lochte), they left France House early Sunday morning in a taxi headed for the Olympic Village. 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.”
Crime and safety have been major concerns surrounding this year’s Olympic games. The chief of security was mugged at knife-point on the night of the opening ceremony, two coaches for the Australian rowing team were attacked and a bus filled with members of the media had its windows shattered.
Lochte recently won gold in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay.