SWIMMING

Rio police say US swimmer Ryan Lochte and teammates lied about robbery at gunpoint

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 August, 2016, 2:56am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 August, 2016, 9:26am

Ryan Lochte fabricated a story about a gunpoint robbery this week and was actually involved in a scuffle at a gas station, Brazilian police officials said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Brazilian police told ABC News that there is a tape showing Lochte or one of the three US swimming teammates he was with breaking down a door to an outside bathroom and then fighting with a security guard early on Sunday morning.

Lochte told NBC after he returned to the US earlier this week that the swimmers stopped at a gas station and were robbed at gunpoint when they returned to their taxi.

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On Wednesday night, Brazilian authorities pulled swimmers Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger off their flight back to the United States.

They were released after promising to co-operate with authorities, while a third swimmer, James Feigen, was also being sought by police and has agreed to be interviewed.

“The three US Olympic swimmers [Bentz, Conger and Feigen] are co-operating with authorities and in the process of scheduling a time and place today to provide further statements to the Brazilian authorities,” USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said on Thursday.

“All are represented by counsel and being appropriately supported by the USOC and the US consulate in Rio.”

Lochte, the 12-time Olympic medallist who gave a dramatic account of the incident in an interview with NBC, tempered his initial statements in a follow-up discussion with the network on Wednesday.

He said a gun was aimed in the direction of the swimmers, not pressed against his head.

Brazilian authorities have questioned the consistency in accounts of what occurred.

The swimmers said in a previous statement issued by the USOC that they were robbed of wallets and personal items by armed individuals posing as police officers during a taxi ride from France’s hospitality venue back to the Athletes’ Village.

Local authorities arrived at the village on Wednesday to collect Feigen and Lochte’s passports and question them further, but the US swimming team had already departed.

The ongoing incident has presented an unwelcome distraction for organisers of the troubled Summer Olympics, already beset by issues with logistics, venues and security. The closing ceremony for the Games is Sunday.