American swimmers make up Rio robbery story

first_img(YAHOOSPORTS) – Ryan Lochte’s U.S. swimming teammates told Brazilian authorities yesterday the 12-time Olympic gold medallist fabricated their story about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro, according to ESPN.Details of the alleged fabrication first came yesterday morning from ABC News correspondent Matt Gutman, who cited Brazilian authority sources claiming the existence of video footage showing a U.S. swimmer “breaking down” a bathroom door and “fighting” security at a gas station around the time the robbery allegedly occurred. Video footage of a verbal confrontation between the four U.S. Olympic swimmers and security at the gas station was released later yesterday by Brazil’s O Globo newspaper.American swimmers Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, James Feigen and Lochte first claimed to be victims of an alleged armed robbery of their taxi cab en route to the Olympic Village on their way back from a party at the French hospitality house early Sunday morning, according to the U.S. Olympic Committee.Video obtained by the Daily Mail on Tuesday appeared to show the U.S. swimmers returning to the Olympic Village around 07:00hrs. on Sunday — after the alleged robbery – carrying valuables and joking with each other. According to reports, Brazilian police grew sceptical when the swimmers failed to provide important details about the robbery, including when and where the incident occurred.During multiple interviews with members of NBC’s Today show, Lochte stood by the robbery story.“We got pulled over in our taxi and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge,” Lochte told the Today show’s Billy Bush in a taped interview Sunday. “No lights, no nothing, just a police badge. They pulled us over, 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 said ‘get down.’ I put my hands up. I was like ‘whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet.”Speaking with Today’s Matt Lauer on Wednesday, Lochte reiterated, “We wouldn’t make this story up. We’re victims in this and we’re happy that we’re safe.” However, the six-time Olympic gold medallist altered details about his original story during Wednesday’s conversation with Lauer, saying they stopped at the gas station to use the men’s room and the gun was aimed in his “general direction”.Gutman’s report yesterday morning appeared to contradict Lochte’s account of the alleged robbery.Later yesterday, the gas station owner told Brazil’s O Globo news the U.S. quartet urinated on his Shell franchise’s walls in Rio’s Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood at the time in question. Meanwhile, the British Daily Mail reported a security guard drew a gun at the swimmers after they drunkenly “destroyed a gas station toilet and refused to pay for the damage.” The swimmers then reportedly paid.The video footage released by O Globo shows the four U.S. swimmers retreating into an alley on the property before returning to their taxi. At that point, someone approaches the vehicle, the swimmers get out, and they’re led to a landing outside the gas station, where they sit with their arms raised.O Globo’s footage did not include a broken bathroom door or a physical confrontation with security, although USA Today maintained the swimmers damaged a bathroom door when they could not enter.On Wednesday, sufficiently sceptical of the U.S. Olympians’ accounts, a Brazilian judge issued a search and seizure warrant to further question the swimmers. While Lochte had already returned to the U.S., Conger and Bentz were removed from their flight home by Brazilian authorities on Wednesday night. Feigen also remained in Brazil. All three were cooperating with Brazilian police, the USOC said.last_img read more