More details are emerging of the harrowing encounter between four Olympic swimmers and armed assailants early in Sunday morning in Rio de Janeiro.
American swimmers Ryan Lochte, Jimmy Feigen, Jack Conger, and Gunnar Bentz were leaving a party at the France House, to which they were invited by Brazilian swimmer Thiago Pereira, when their taxi was pulled over by burglars impersonating police officers.
“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’s Billy Bush. “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.”
The IOC initially denied the reports, saying that the USOC had talked to Lochte and told them that it was “absolutely not true.” The denial from the IOC came after Lochte’s mom Ileana, who is in Rio, told several reporters of the “terrifying” incident. The USOC and Lochte both later confirmed the reports.
Earlier this week, Lochte won a gold medal in the 800 free relay, which was his 12th Olympic medal. That’s the second-most among all swimmers globally behind only Michael Phelps.