Ryan Lochte Downplays Gunpoint Robbery Outside Olympic Village

Daily Mail, August 15, 2016

Ryan Lochte detailed his violent interaction with the group of men who robbed him and three of his teammates at gunpoint outside the Olympic Village in a new interview.

The swimming great said that the men, who were dressed like police officers, rushed his cab in the early morning hours of Sunday and demanded that he get on the ground.

Lochte, 32, said that he refused their orders at first, until one of the men pulled out a gun and held it to his head.

‘I put my hands up, I was like “whatever,'” said Lochte, who added that the men took off with his wallet but did not take his cell phone or credentials.

Officials have now increased security following this latest violent incident while authorities are searching for the taxi driver who willingly pulled over prior to the attack.

‘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 News on Sunday.

‘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.”

Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and Jimmy Feigen were also in the vehicle with Lochte, all four celebrating the completion of an Olympic Games where they each took home a gold medal, at Club France.

Bentz spoke about the frightening attack on Twitter Sunday, writing: ‘We are all safe. Thank you for your love and support. P.s. the gold medal is safe.’

The United States Olympic Committee confirmed the robbery took place Sunday, along with Lochte’s claim that it was carried out by fake police officers.

One of the swimmers also reported the crime to authorities shortly after the group was robbed.

‘According to four members of the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team (Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, Jimmy Feigen and Ryan Lochte), they left France House early Sunday morning in a taxi headed for the Olympic Village,’ USOC spokesperson Patrick Sandusky said in a statement.

‘Their taxi was stopped by individuals posing as armed police officers who demanded the athletes’ money and other personal belongings. All four athletes are safe and cooperating with authorities.’

That statement came after a spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee told members of the media that Lochte and his teammates were lying about the robbery on Sunday afternoon.

The IOC has since backtracked on their denial that the incident took place, saying they do not know specifics of the situation.

Despite Club France and the surrounding complex being heavily secured–with a police car with flashing lights parked by the entrance on Sunday afternoon–local staff warned that the area is a hot spot for crime.

‘There is a lot of crime around here–it’s dangerous at any time,’ said the woman, who asked not to be named.

‘Someone had a Lacoste bag [from the French Olympic team store] and had it stolen just outside–that was at 5pm. There are lots of bad people around at that time.’

She added: ‘It’s lucky it wasn’t a girl because she probably would have been raped–that often happens in those situations.’

Club France officials appeared taken aback when asked about the robbery by Daily Mail Online but quickly said that responsibility for the attack does not lie with them.

‘If he got the taxi here but wasn’t attacked outside, then it would not be our responsibility,’ said a spokesman. ‘He has not spoken to us about it.

‘The club has been very popular with athletes but nothing like this has ever happened here before.’

The incident was first reported by Fox Sports, who spoke to the star swimmer’s mother.

Lochte’s mother, Ileana, told the network it was ‘terrifying’ and she had rushed from her hotel to meet her son.

Team USA’s Jenn Suhr told Fox Sports ‘it definitely would have been terrifying’ for Lochte and his teammates.

‘I’m just glad they’re safe . . . when you’re in another country you don’t know of, it’s not the smartest idea to go places you’re unsure of,’ she said.

Lochte popped up on Snapchat just before the robbery at around 2am to post a video of heavily graffitied Rio sidewalk, possibly taken from a taxi.

He followed up with an obscure photo of four sets of feet, presumably one set of his own, with the message ‘6kdeep’.

The caption, perhaps a reference to how much their smart footwear was collectively worth, could been seen by anyone following his movements on Snapchat.

The black shoes that two of the people in the shot were wearing appeared to be Adidas Yeezy Boost 350s, which are listed online as costing about $1,500.

Finally at 2:25am Lochte posted a video of himself and Brazilian swimmer Thiago Pereira inside a nightclub, panning around to show the crowd and light display.

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Lochte is now the second most decorated swimmer in the history Olympics, with his 12 medals putting him behind only teammate Michael Phelps.

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