As the 2016 Rio Olympics comes to a close, the drama among the event's athletes has spilled beyond the arena, with U.S. swimmers Ryan Lochte, Jimmy Feigen, Jack Conger, and Gunnar Bentz getting caught in the middle of a diplomatic controversy.
The Alleged Robbery
The four athletes first attracted some unwarranted attention after a report emerged from Lochte's mother that the four men were robbed after attending a party outside the Olympic Village on Sunday. According to the swimmer's mother, she had just gotten word that her son and his teammates were robbed at gunpoint.
Reports from initial investigations suggested that the swimmers were robbed sometime around 0400 local time while they were in a taxi. Eventually, Lochte spoke to NBC News and gave a very vivid account of what happened.
"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. 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,'" he said.
"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 cellphone, he left my credentials."
The Inconsistencies Begin Emerging
While the athlete's account was very jarring, his teammates' recollection of the events were quite different according to Lochte's teammates. Police who were investigating the incident were also finding it very difficult to locate any evidence pertaining to the supposed robbery.
What's more, the athletes also did not report the robbery to local authorities. Thus, officers from Rio only found out about the incident once it became public.
Eventually, Lochte decided to change parts of his account of the robbery altogether, stating that no gun was pointed at his head, and that they were stopped at a petrol station.
The inconsistencies in the athlete's story, coupled with the differing accounts from his teammates, ultimately persuaded a Brazilian judge to order Lochte, as well as his teammate Feigen, to surrender their passports.
When the police attempted to make contact with the athletes, however, it was found that Lochte had already landed in the United States. As of Feigen, his whereabouts are still unknown, though officials are sure that he is still in Rio.
The two other athletes involved in the incident, Conger and Bentz, made headlines around the world when they were pulled out of a flight to the United States for questioning. According to the athlete's lawyers, Conger and Bentz would not be allowed to leave the country until they are sufficiently interviewed by the police.