Early Sunday morning members of the U.S. swim team claimed they were robbed at gun point by assailants dressed in police uniforms. Ryan Lochte told NBC about the robbery, but now a Brazilian judge claims that there is “little to no evidence.” But this begs the question, what would these athletes gain from lying about being robbed?
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By Lochte’s account, the four Olympic swimmers were returning from a party at the France House early Sunday morning when their taxi was pulled over by men with police badges but no official police markings on their car. Claims of robbery by thieves pretending to be police are quite common in Brazil.
“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 reports, Lochte and his teammates were “unable to provide key details in police interviews,” such as the color of the taxi and the time it all went down. The four men apparently didn’t call police after the alleged incident. Law enforcement didn’t even start investigating until after the story made headlines.
Lochte claimed they didn’t report it to the United States Olympic Committee because they feared “getting in trouble.”
Reports from Brazil are now coming out stating that a Brazilian judge ordered the seizure of Lochte’s and teammate James Feigen’s passports as officials continue their investigation into their claims. While Lochte was already back in the U.S. when the order was issued, Feigen is still at a hotel in Brazil.
Lochte attorney, Jeff Ostrow, claimed his client’s recollections of the robbery are “all true, no question it happened.”
So why are the Brazilians suddenly questioning that this happened? There have been several reports of robbery during the Olympics. And why would they want to seize any Olympian’s passport? This is just another reason why the Olympic Committee needs to choose carefully where our athletes will compete. It’s understandable that most countries want a chance to host the Olympics. Think of the prestige, the chance to improve your local economy, and the publicity. Maybe Rio is proof that not everyone who wants to host the Olympics is actually equipped to handle such a large responsibility.