RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte and three other US swimmers were safe and cooperating with police Sunday after being robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro, the U.S. Olympic Committee said.
One of the bandits reportedly put a gun to Lochte’s forehead.
Lochte and fellow swimmers Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen had left a hospitality house hosted by France early Sunday in a taxi bound for the Olympic Village.
The vehicle was “stopped by individuals posing as armed police officers who demanded the athletes’ money and other personal belongings,” said USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky.
Appearing on NBC, Lochte offered chilling details.
“We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a police badge, no lights, no nothing — just a police badge and they pulled us over,” Lochte told NBC. “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.”
“I think they’re all shaken up,” Lochte’s mother, Ileana Lochte, told USA Today.
Lochte released a statement thanking family, friends, and fans for their support.
“While it is true that my teammates and I were victims of a robbery early Sunday morning, what is most important is that we are safe and unharmed,” he said.
Bentz tweeted, “We are all safe. Thank you for your love and support.”
Rio de Janeiro civil police told CNN they have opened an investigation, a few hours after first learning about the robbery from the media, and had not been contacted by the USOC.
With 12 Olympic medals, Lochte, 32, is the second-most decorated male Olympic swimmer of all time, behind Michael Phelps.