U.S. Olympic swimmers Ryan Lochte, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen were robbed at gunpoint while in Rio de Janeiro overnight Saturday, NBC News has confirmed.
Following conflicting reports — including the IOC denying any incident took place — Lochte himself confirmed with TODAY’s Billy Bush that he and the other swimmers were robbed at gunpoint.
“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 said. “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.”
USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky later told NBC News in a statement: “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. 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.”
Police officials told NBC News that at least one of the athletes reported the incident and they are looking to interview the cab driver about the event.
Lochte’s mom had earlier told other news organizations that the robbery happened at a party.
“I think they’re all shaken up. There were a few of them,” Ileana Lochte told USA Today. “No, they were just, they just took their wallets and basically that was it.”
USA Today and Fox Sports Australia had both reported that the 32-year-old Lochte was robbed early Sunday while socializing the night after Olympic swimming events ended. An IOC spokesman denied the claim to the Associated Press at first before hedging, acknowledging he didn’t directly know the specifics of the situation.
Lochte swam in two events at the Rio Games, winning gold in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay.