Gold Medal Swimmers Lochte, Feigen Ordered to Stay in Brazilby
US swimmers claim they were victims of armed robbery Sunday
Lochte back in the U.S., his father tells Associated Press
A Brazilian judge has issued an order to seize the passports of U.S. swimmers Ryan Lochte and James Feigen as part of an investigation into an alleged armed robbery that targeted the athletes on Sunday.
The measure is to ensure the athletes stay in Brazil while the investigation continues, judge Keyla Blanc de Cnop said in a statement. She said there were contradictions in the testimonies provided by the swimmers, who won gold medals in Rio. Two other members of the U.S. swimming team were also involved in the suspected robbery.
Police weren’t able to locate the men on Wednesday morning at the Olympic Village. Lochte was already back in the U.S. before the judge issued the order, the Associated Press reported, citing his father. Feigen’s whereabouts couldn’t be confirmed.
“The swim team moved out of the village after their competition ended, so we were not able to make the athletes available," U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in a statement.
U.S. officials didn’t say where the swimmers were, citing security protocol. “We will continue to cooperate with Brazilian authorities,” Sandusky added.
The inquiry started after Lochte’s mother told media that her son was robbed. The International Olympic Committee initially denied a robbery had taken place, before backtracking. Lochte, a 12-time Olympic medalist, then delivered details of the incident to NBC, saying the criminals posed as police.
“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,” Lochte said.
Lochte later told USA Today that he and his three colleagues didn’t initially report the incident to US Olympic officials “because we were afraid we’d get in trouble.”
Footage from security cameras posted online showed the swimmers arriving back at the Athletes Village following the alleged incident, looking relaxed as they took out their belongings before passing through a metal detector.
The allegations made by the swimmers were a setback for Brazilian authorities who are carrying out the biggest security operation in the nation’s history. Around 85,000 personnel, including soldiers and state and city police, have been spread throughout Rio during the games.
That hasn’t stopped crime entirely. Portugal’s education and sports minister and two Australian rowing coaches were robbed at knifepoint while walking near the Olympic rowing venue in the days after the Aug. 5 opening ceremony. Members of Australia’s Paralympic team were also robbed in the lead-up to the Olympics.