Two US Olympians tred water in Rio Games
Brazilian police have recommended charging US Olympic swimming champions Ryan Lochte and Jimmy Feigen with giving false testimony, Brazilian TV said on Thursday, after authorities accused the pair of lying about being robbed at gunpoint.
The swimmers could also potentially face punishment under USA Swimming’s code of conduct, which prohibits dishonesty or fraud, including probation, suspension, a fine or expulsion. It was not immediately clear if the organization planned to act.
Brazilian police also pulled two of their fellow US Olympic swimmers off a US-bound plane in connection with their claim that they were victims of an armed mugging, officials said on Wednesday.
“We can confirm that Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were removed from their flight to the United States by Brazilian authorities,” said Patrick Sandusky, spokesman for the US Olympic Committee.
The two were with star US swimmer Ryan Lochte and fellow squad member James Feigen when, they later said, they were robbed at gunpoint early on Sunday.
Media reports emerged on Thursday that the four swimmers damaged a gas station restroom door.
A Brazilian security source said they were involved in a dispute with a security guard and were asked to pay for the damage.
Before those allegations, a Brazilian judge ordered a probe, saying the swimmers’ story is full of inconsistencies.
“The swimmers are here and making statements,” an airport police spokesman said, without giving further details.
They were later released “with the understanding that they would continue their discussions about the incident on Thursday”, Sandusky said.
Lochte, who went home before Brazilian authorities ordered the swimmers’ questioned, and Feigen, who remains in Brazil, will cooperate with the investigation, NBC News reported.
Earlier on Wednesday, Judge Keyla Blank “issued warrants for searches and the seizure of the passports of the US swimmers”, a statement from her office said.
Brazilian officials said the swimmers may have made up their account and could be charged with filing a false report.
Lochte denied the allegation. “I wouldn’t make up a story like this, nor would the others,” NBC quoted him as saying.
US Olympic swimmers Jack Conger (right) and Gunnar Bentz leave a police station after being questioned in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.