Ryan Lochte and several other swimmers were held up by robbers impersonating police officers near the Olympic village early Sunday morning. All the swimmers are unharmed.
“We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over,” Lochte told NBC Sports. “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.”
“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,” Patrick Sandusky, USOC spokesperson, said in a statement. “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.”
Lochte and the USOC initially denied any robbery happened, but reversed course soon after Lochte’s mother told several news sources that that her son was indeed robbed.
The IOC initially withheld comment. “We’re waiting for more information,” Mario Andrada, Rio 2016 spokesman, said early Sunday morning. “We heard about the event, but we don’t have more information.” Soon afterward, the IOC passed along the statement of Lochte and the USOC:
BREAKING: IOC spokesman: Report that swimmer Lochte robbed at gunpoint 'absolutely not true,' according to Lochte and USOC.
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 14, 2016
But Lochte’s mother Ileana, reached by USA Today, indicated that there was indeed a robbery, and that Lochte was unharmed. Ileana Lochte said her son was in a cab with at least one other swimmer, and when the cab stopped to get gas, the swimmers were robbed by men with knives and guns.
“I think they’re all shaken up. There were a few of them,” Ileana Lochte told USA Today. “No, they were just, they just took their wallets and basically that was it.”
The story continued to wend its way through social media Sunday morning:
Mark Adams of IOC, latest on Lochte robbery- “All I can tell you is that I messaged USOC and they messaged Lochte and said it was not true.”
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) August 14, 2016
Lochte won a gold medal on Wednesday as part of the men’s 4×200 freestyle relay. His Rio week is complete, though he has promised to attempt a return to the pool for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at email@example.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.