U.S. Olympic Committee issues statement on swimmers accused of vandalism in Rio

Posted at 8:42 PM, Aug 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-18 22:50:12-04

The U.S. Olympic Committee issued a statement Thursday regarding four swimmers on Team USA who originally claimed they were robbed in Rio but who were allegedly actually involved in an act of vandalism.

The statement comes after reports that James Feigen and Ryan Lochte were indicted after Brazilian officials said they lied about the incident, which occurred at a gas station.

The USOC states that the two other swimmers present, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, have given revised statements about the August 14 incident. The swimmer’s passports were released and they have since departed Rio.

The statement offers a description of the event:

“As we understand it, the four athletes (Bentz, Conger, Feigen and Ryan Lochte) left France House early in the morning of August 14 in a taxi headed to the Olympic Village. They stopped at a gas station to use the restroom, where one of the athletes committed an act of vandalism. An argument ensued between the athletes and two armed gas station security staff, who displayed their weapons, ordered the athletes from their vehicle and demanded the athletes provide a monetary payment. Once the security officials received money from the athletes, the athletes were allowed to leave.”

That description clashes with earlier statements about the incident. Lochte had previously claimed he and his companions were approached by armed robbers dressed in police uniforms who put a gun to his head and demanded money.

Surveillance video shot at the gas station appears to corroborate the latest version of events. 

The statement goes on to say the behavior of these athletes is unacceptable and does not represent the values Team USA strives for. The matter will be reviewed further to determine what, if any, consequences the athletes will face.

The statement concludes:

“On behalf of the United States Olympic Committee, we apologize to our hosts in Rio and the people of Brazil for this distracting ordeal in the midst of what should rightly be a celebration of excellence.

With three days remaining in the Olympic Games, our primary focus will remain on supporting the athletes who are still competing and celebrating the achievements of those who have finished.”