RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte and three other U.S. swimmers were safe and cooperating with police Sunday after being robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro, the U.S. Olympic Committee said.
One of the bandits reportedly put a gun to Lochte’s forehead.
Lochte and fellow swimmers Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen had left a hospitality house hosted by France early Sunday morning in a taxi bound for the Olympic Village.
The vehicle was “stopped by individuals posing as armed police officers who demanded the athletes’ money and other personal belongings,” said USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky.
Appearing on NBC, Lochte offered chilling details.
“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. “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.”
“I think they’re all shaken up,” Lochte’s mother, Ileana Lochte, told USA Today.
Sandusky said all four athletes “are safe and cooperating with authorities.”
Rio de Janeiro Civil Police told CNN they have opened an investigation, a few hours after they first learned about the robbery from the media and had not been contacted by the USOC.
Bentz, one of the four swimmers, tweeted Sunday “We are all safe. Thank you for your love and support.”
As of Sunday afternoon, the other three swimmers had remained silent on Twitter about the robbery.
Lochte’s most recent tweet from Saturday was a photo of him with snowboarder Shaun White.
When reports began surfacing about the incident, International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams told reporters at a press briefing in Rio “I can tell you from Ryan Lochte’s mouth that the story is absolutely not true.”
With 12 Olympic medals, Lochte, 32, is the second-most decorated male Olympic swimmer of all time, second only to Michael Phelps.