Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz, two members of the U.S. Olympic swim team, were removed from their flight home yesterday by Brazilian police. The two were allegedly victims of a robbery, along with two other U.S. swimmers, that took place on Sunday morning in Rio. A Brazilian judge had already signed off on the seizure of passports from their fellow Olympic teammates, Ryan Lochte and James Feigen. Apparently, the Rio police want to detain the swimmers for further questioning of the alleged crime.
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A lawyer for the two athletes said they will not be allowed to leave Brazil until they provide testimony to investigators, who are still searching for answers about how the swimmers got robbed Sunday morning, along with teammate Lochte.
Patrick Sandusky, U.S. Olympic Committee spokesperson, said Conger and Bentz were detained and “released by local authorities with the understanding that they would continue their discussions about the incident on Thursday. James Feigen is also communicating with local authorities and intends to make further statements regarding the incident on Thursday as well.” Lochte has already returned home to the U.S.
The action comes amid increasing tension between Brazilian authorities and the American swimmers over their ever-changing account of the robbery. Police have found little evidence so far to support their claims and say the swimmers were unable to provide key details in interviews.
Lochte, who has been the only one speaking to the press on the matter, has been under much scrutiny since bringing this incident to light. Lochte claims he was with Conger, Bentz and Feigen when they were robbed at gunpoint in a taxi by men with a police badge as they returned to the athletes village from a party, several hours after the last Olympic swimming events were held Sunday.
Lochte has since revised some of his earlier statements. Previously, he stated that a gun was pointed at his head while the assailants demanded their money. Now he claims that the gun was just pointed in his direction. He also now says that the taxi wasn’t pulled over but that they were robbed after making a stop at a gas station.
Lochte swam in two events at the Rio Games, winning gold in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay. Bentz, 21, and Conger, 20, also earned gold for swimming in the preliminary heats of the 4×200 relay. Feigen, 26, received gold for swimming in the heats of the 4×100 free relay, which was won by the U.S.