Scott Blackmun, the CEO of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), says that his organization will be announcing further action regarding American swimmers Ryan Lochte, Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz, and Jack Conger.
Speaking with ESPN, Blackmun didn’t offer details on what is being considered, but did say more action would be coming.
“They let down our athletes,” Blackmun said. “They let down Americans.
“And they really let down our hosts in Rio who did such a wonderful job, and we feel very badly about that. I think we ended up in the right place in terms of being able to shine a light on what really happened there.”
There are several organizations that could sanction the athletes, including FINA, USA Swimming, the International Olympic Committee, and in the case of Bentz and Conger their respective collegiate programs or even the NCAA.
So far, though, all have taken a ‘wait-and-see’ approach and none have announced any specific actions they will take. CNN late last week announced that USA Swimming had suspended Lochte, but a USA Swimming spokesperson denied those reports, claiming that no decisions had been made on any punishment, suspension or otherwise.
The four swimmers are under fire after Lochte, who has become the lightning rod, told international media that the group was robbed at gun point by men impersonating police officers early in the morning on August 14th. Videos would later show that after Lochte caused some damage at the gas station, the group was held by station security guards (who had guns) until around $50 USD equivalent was paid for the damage, when they were allowed to leave. Brazilian authorities claim that the security guards were awaiting police to arrive after the swimmers urinated on the outside of the building and Lochte caused damage. Statements by two of the swimmers, Conger and Bentz, affirm that the swimmers did urinate on the building and concurred that Lochte did cause damage to a sign at the bathroom, and that they knew they weren’t being robbed in the most literal senses – despite Lochte’s claim as such to the media.
Lochte appeared in an interview on NBC on Saturday to explain what he called an “overexaggeration.” Read more about that interview here.
Lochte and Feigen were indicted on charges of falsifying a police report, though there’s been no indication yet of any charges pressed by the owner of the gas station. Lochte left the country prior to those charges being filed against him, but Feigen was unable to leave until making a $10,800 donation to charity, which is allowed under Brazilian law to escape prosecution on minor offenses. All four swimmers are now back in the United States.