US swimmers robbed at gunpoint in Rio, Brazil


Ryan Lochte an d three other American swimmers were robbed at gunpoint by thieves posing as police officers who stopped their taxi and took their money and belongings, the US Olympic Committee (USOC) said. In the latest security incident to hit the Rio Games, Lochte said that one of the robbers put a gun to his forehead before taking his wallet. No one was injured.

Lochte and his teammates were returning to the athletes village by taxi after a night out at the French Olympic team’s hospitalit­y house in the Rodrigo de Freitas area in the upscale south zone of the city. The outing was several hours after Olympic swimming ended Saturday night at the Rio Games. “Their taxi was stopped by individual­s posing as armed police officers who demanded the athletes’ money and other personal belongings,” USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in a statement. “All four athletes are safe and cooperatin­g with authoritie­s.” Sandusky said the robbers took cash and credit cards only, and that no Olympic medals were lost.

Earlier, a bus carrying journalist­s at the Rio Games was hit by gunfire on a highway between Olympic venues, according to reports. No one was seriously injured in the incident. The bus was making its way from the Games basketball venue to the main Olympic park when, according to passengers, two shots were heard hitting the vehicle. Windows shattered and flying glass left two people with minor laceration­s.

“We were shot at. I mean we could hear the report of the gun,” said Sherryl ‘Lee’ Michaelson, a retired US Air Force Captain who is working for a basketball publicatio­n in Rio.

Violent street crime in Rio has left its mark on South America’s first Olympic Games. On Saturday, a bullet hit the equestrian centre, missing journalist­s there by just a few feet. That bullet was suspected to have been fired by a gang member trying to shoot down a police blimp or drone, officials said.

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