Four US Olympic swimmers say they were robbed at gunpoint early Sunday in Rio de Janeiro, but Brazilian authorities say their accounts are contradictory. The officials went to extraordinary lengths of pulling two of the athletes off a flight headed home Wednesday night in search for answers.
Here are the twist and turns in the accounts of what happened to swimmers Ryan Lochte, James Feigen, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz that morning in Rio:
Sunday, August 14
Reports emerged Sunday morning that the four swimmers were robbed at gunpoint hours earlier. Shortly afterward, Lochte’s mother, Ileana Lochte, told the media the swimmers were in a taxi when confronted by people with guns, who stole their wallets.
The International Olympic Committee initially denied a robbery occurred.
But in an interview with Olympic broadcaster NBC, Lochte gave a chilling account of how the swimmers were stopped in a taxi returning from a party and confronted by men with a police badge. They demanded the swimmers get down on the ground, and when Lochte refused, he said one bandit cocked a gun and pressed it up against his forehead.
The US Olympic Committee corroborated Lochte’s account.
Monday, August 15
The IOC reversed its position the following day, saying it now believed the robbery took place. It said the US committee had initially said otherwise, causing the confusion.
Tuesday, August 16
Lochte arrived back in the United States, explaining that the swimmers didn’t initially tell the US Olympic Committee about the robbery out of fear of being punished, giving perhaps some explanation for the initial confusion.
But police said the swimmers were intoxicated, giving accounts full of murky details and in conflict with one another.
Wednesday, August 17
A Brazilian judge ordered a search and seizure warrant for Lochte and Feigen as well as the confiscation of their passports. But when police arrived at the Olympics Village, the men were not there. Lochte’s attorney, Jeff Ostrow, said the athletes had moved out after the completion of their sporting events and that his client had returned to the United States.
On Wednesday night, Conger and Bentz were pulled off a plane bound for the United States and told they were barred from leaving Brazil until they gave a statement to police.
Lochte spoke again to NBC, which reported he had changed his account slightly, saying the men were robbed after using a toilet at a gas station. He said a gun was pointed inches from him, not at his forehead.
Thursday, August 18
Conger and Bentz were expected to speak with police. It’s unclear where Feigen is, but the US committee said he is cooperating with Brazilian authorities.
The British Olympic Association also told CNN that one of its athletes had been robbed in Rio.
“We can confirm there has been an incident of theft involving a Team GB athlete returning to their accommodation. All members of our delegation, including the individual concerned, are accounted for, and are safe and well,” a representative said.