(ATR) Two United States gold-medal winning swimmers were removed from their flight home by Brazilian federal police as part of an ongoing investigation.
The United States Olympic Committee confirmed in a statement that swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were detained yesterday at Galeao International Airport. The statement said both swimmers were released overnight.
USOC also says that Conger, Bentz and a third swimmer Jimmy Feigen are to meet with Brazilian police today to provide further statements.
Early in the morning on August 14, Ryan Lochte, Feigen, Bentz, and Conger were reportedly robbed in a taxi on the way back to the Olympic Village from a party at Club France. After some initial confusion, the USOC confirmed the incident saying all four swimmers would cooperate with authorities.
A new wrinkle in the story emerged yesterday when Lochte changed the details of his story in an interview with NBC.
Lochte told NBC that the swimmers were robbed at a gas station, and that a gun was pointed in his general direction by the muggers. Originally, Lochte said that he and the four swimmers’ taxi was pulled over by robbers who disguised themselves as police, and a gun was pointed at his forehead during the robbery.
U.S. network ABC, quoting a Federal Police source, is reporting today that CCTV footage from the night of the incident showed one of the swimmers in a gas station fighting with a security guard and breaking down a bathroom door. The video evidence seems to contradict the second account Lochte gave about being robbed in the gas station.
Yesterday, Rio Civil Police acting on behalf of the Federal Police visited the Olympic Village to question Lochte and Feigen due to inconsistencies in their stories. Neither athlete was in the Village, but the police said they came with the intention of holding the swimmers’ passports to prevent them from leaving the country.
A judge ordered the seizure of the athletes’ passports after police said that there were too many inconsistencies in the initial account of the robbery. The police wanted to ensure that the swimmers remained in Brazil for the entirety of the investigation.
USOC could not confirm the whereabouts of either athlete due to security protocols, but Lochte’s father and lawyer confirmed to international mediathe swimmer was back in the United States. Lochte’s lawyer Jeff Ostrow told NBC that Lochte had given statements to a representative of the U.S. State Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and local investigators before leaving Brazil.
The USOC confirmed today that Jimmy Feigen is "communicating with local authorities and intends to make further statements regarding the incident."
Written by Aaron Bauerin Rio de Janeiro
For general comments or questions,click here.
20 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is AroundTheRings.com, for subscribers only.