Olympic swimmers Gunnar Bentz, left, and Jack Conger,
center, leave the police station at Rio International
airport early Thursday Aug. 18, 2016. The two were
taken off their flight from Brazil to the U.S. on
Wednesday by local authorities amid an investigation
into a reported robbery targeting Ryan Lochte and his
teammates. According to their lawyer they will not be
allowed to leave Brazil until they provide testimony
about the robbery.
JANEIRO — Three American Olympic swimmers planned to meet
with Brazilian law enforcement Thursday to discuss a
reported robbery targeting 12-time medalist Ryan Lochte and
his teammates, a U.S. Olympic Committee official said.
spokesperson Patrick Sandusky said Jack Conger and Gunnar
Bentz were released by local authorities after being pulled
from a flight at the Rio de Janeiro airport, with the
understanding that discussions would continue amid
uncertainty over what truly took place during a late outing
the night Olympic swimming wrapped up at the Rio Games.
teammate Jimmy Feigen also plans to talk to officials,
Sandusky said, as he navigates a judge's order that keeps
him in Brazil. The order similarly called for Lochte's
passport to be seized, but the star swimmer had already
returned to the United States before authorities could
enforce the decision.
for Conger and Bentz said Thursday that they won't be
allowed to leave Brazil until they provide testimony to
investigators. The swimmers didn't speak to reporters as
they left the airport, shuttled away by a black car waiting
outside. They departed for an unspecified location in Brazil
and had yet to testify, said attorney Sergio Viegas.
this Aug. 9, 2016, file photo, United States' Ryan
Lochte checks his time after a men' 4x200-meter
freestyle relay heat during the swimming competitions
at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The father of the American swimmer said Wednesday,
Aug. 17, his son arrived back in the United States
before a Brazilian judge ordered that Lochte stay in
Brazil as authorities investigate a robbery claim
involving the athlete during the Olympics.
from the U.S. consulate arrived at the airport shortly after
the swimmers were stopped from leaving the country.
comes amid increasing tension between Brazilian authorities
and the American swimmers over the ever-changing account of
the robbery. Police say they have found little evidence so
far to support the claims, and that the swimmers were unable
to provide key details in interviews. The office of Judge
Keyla Blanc, who ordered the passports seized, said that
there were discrepancies in the statements by the swimmers.
said he was with Conger, Bentz and Jimmy 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 final Olympic swimming events.
reported Wednesday night that
Lochte backed off some of his earlier claims about the
robbery. He now says the taxi wasn't pulled over by men with
a badge, but that they were robbed after stopping at a gas
station, NBC reported. Lochte also said the assailant
pointed a gun at him rather than putting it to his head.
Olympic Committee said police went to the athletes village
to try to collect the passports, but the swim team had
already moved out.
father told The Associated Press by phone from his Florida
home that his son called him Tuesday after arriving in the
United States. The 32-year-old swimmer was going to pick up
his car and buy a new wallet to replace the one that he said
just happy he's safe," Steve Lochte said. "It was
an unfortunate experience for him and the other three. I
don't know what all the controversy is. They were basically
taken out of the taxi and robbed. The main thing is he's
very lucky that he's safe and that all they got was his cash
medaled often in the Olympic pool, Lochte's accomplishments
have long been overshadowed by teammate Michael Phelps —
the most decorated Olympian in history. He won a gold in Rio
in a relay race alongside Phelps.
did not call police, authorities said, and officers began
investigating once they saw media reports in which Lochte's
mother spoke about the robbery.
official with knowledge of the investigation told the AP
that police cannot find their taxi driver or witnesses from
the robbery. The official spoke on condition of anonymity
because the investigation is ongoing.
interviewed Lochte and one other swimmer, who said they had
been intoxicated and could not remember what type and color
of taxi they rode in or where the robbery happened, the
police official said. The swimmers also could not say what
time the events occurred.
attorney, Jeff Ostrow, has said there is no question the
would anybody fabricate anything?" Steve Lochte said.
"It's just ridiculous."
USA Today that he and his teammates didn't initially
tell the U.S. Olympic officials about the robbery because
"we were afraid we'd get in trouble."
father of Gunnar Bentz, when reached by phone late Wednesday
night, said: "I really don't want to say
anything," and hung up.