As more details emerge about the alleged robbery of Ryan Lochte and 3 other U.S. swimmers, the validity of their claims become increasingly suspicious. While Lochte has returned home, the remaining swimmers—James Feigen, Gunnar Bentz, and Jack Conger—remain in Brazil.
Last night, authorities removed Bentz and Conger from their plane bound for the U.S. before its departure. The men were held in custody for several hours before being released under the agreement that they stay in the country and cooperate with officials in charge of the investigation.
The swimmers’ robbery allegations are under fire following a questionable lack of details about the events, as well as their inability to corroborate stories. When initially questioned about the robbery, Lochte told the Today Show that “the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to [his] forehead.” But now that story has changed: Lochte told NBC yesterday that the gun had been pointed in his “general direction.” That isn’t the only change in Lochte’s details of the events, as his initial report stated that the Olympians were robbed in their taxi, but new details have revealed that the alleged robbery took place at a gas station the men had stopped at to use the restroom. (Lochte initially denied that he had been robbed at all on Sunday morning, leading the International Olympic Committee’s spokesperson to say that the story was “absolutely not true.”)
This morning, security footage emerged from the swimmers’ stop at that gas station. According to ABC, the footage shows one of the swimmers involved “breaking down the door to the bathroom at the gas station and fighting with a security guard.” Brazilian daily O Globo cited a security source who said that the swimmers paid off the security guard—who pointed a gun at them to prevent them from fleeing—after the police failed to show up to investigate the broken door. (The Daily Mail reported that the swimmers also urinated on the gas station’s property.)
On Wednesday afternoon, Brazilian police told the Washington Post that the swimmers’ testimony didn’t hold water.
“We knew it wasn’t robbery on Sunday after talking to two of them. The stories did not match,” Officer Marcelo Carregosa, second in charge at the station handling the case, told the Washington Post. “Ryan was very evasive and he did not give details.”
Among all the confusion and obfuscation of details surrounding the robbery allegations, there is anger, embarrassment, and resentment from many Brazilians—as well as frustration on the part of foreign media who covers Brazil year-round—who feel that the potentially false reports were a specious addition to the voluminous bad press associated with the Rio Olympics.
Let the grand apology tour begin.