Two U.S. Swimmers Attempting to Leave Rio Pulled Off Plane Amid Fake Robbery Allegations
Report: Ryan Lochte Made Up Armed Robbery Story
There are new reports coming out of Rio today that suggest Ryan Lochte made up most if not all of his story about being robbed at gunpoint on Sunday.
As you probably know, the six-time gold medalist initially claimed he was in a taxi with teammates James Feigen, Gunnar Bentz, and Jack Conger when armed robbers pretending to be police pulled them over and robbed them. He even said a man put a gun to his head. However, for some reason, that man did not take their phones or their Olympic credentials.
Unfortunately, Lochte and company gave conflicting accounts of the robbery to authorities, and Rio police could not verify any of the details. So on Tuesday a judge ordered the four American swimmers not to leave the country, and on Wednesday police pulled Bentz and Conger off a plane and took their passports.
On Thursday morning, ABC News’ T.J. Holmes reported that Brazilian police have obtained a video showing one member of the U.S. Swim Team breaking down the door to a restroom at a Rio gas station and getting into a fight with a security guard.
— T.J. Holmes (@tjholmes) August 18, 2016
Meanwhile, ABC News’ Matt Gutman reported that Brazilian police believe Lochte and company fabricated the entire story.
— Matt Gutman (@mattgutmanABC) August 18, 2016
Lochte managed to sneak back to the U.S. on Tuesday before the Brazilian judged ordered the seizure of his passport. On Wednesday he spoke to NBC’s Matt Lauer by phone and told a much different story.
In the new version of events, which Lauer related to Bob Costas on NBC, the robbers didn’t pull the taxi over pretending to police. Instead, the swimmers asked the taxi driver to pull over at a gas station so they could go to the bathroom. Then, when they got back in the cab, the driver wouldn’t respond to their request to leave, and that’s when they were robbed.
Lochte insisted that there was a gun involved. However, it wasn’t point at his head, per se, but rather in his “general direction.”
At this point it’s sounding an awful lot like Lochte and company made the whole armed robbery story up to cover up some embarrassing behavior. So Lauer specifically asked him if that was the case. But apparently Lochte stopped him quickly and categorically denied a coverup.
When Lauer followed that up by asking Lochte about the inconsistencies in his stories, the swimmer—who does not have a reputation for being a particularly smart man—called them a “traumatic mischaracterization” caused by stress. So he’s obviously been coached by a lawyer or PR specialist.
Stay tuned. This story is only going to get weirder.
Hat Tip – [The Score]