The story of an alleged robbery outside of Olympic village—which initially spread alarm among the athletic community competing in Brazil—has turned out to be false, according to Brazilian authorities.
Ryan Lochte, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen—all US Olympic Swimmers—failed to deliver the entire truth when reporting they were robbed at gunpoint by assailants impersonating police, ABC News reports. In fact, new details emerging on Thursday revealed that the athletes caused significant damage to a gas station and fought with security guards on Sunday night.
After police were called to the location, the athletes agreed to pay for the damage in cash, authorities told Buzzfeed NewsSurveillance video places the swimmers at the gas station at the time of the incident.
Lochte, an Olympic gold medalist, initially told authorities that men impersonating police officers pulled over a taxi carrying the four swimmers after a night of partying. The men, Lochte said, pointed a gun at his head before robbing them. Later, Lochte changed his story, saying the robbery occurred after the taxi driver stopped at the gas station.
But the swimmers' stories lacked consistency, prompting an investigation by Brazilian police.
According to the New York Times:
"After watching video and hearing testimony from witnesses, the Brazilian police have determined the incident involved damage to a bathroom door at a gas station where the swimmers stopped in the early hours Sunday on the way back to the athletes’ village from a party. A Brazilian police official who had reviewed the video images said that there had been no armed assault, contrary to what the swimmers had claimed. The official declined to be identified because the investigation was continuing."
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While Lochte headed back to the U.S. on Monday, the three other swimmers had been grounded in Brazil. Conger and Bentz were pulled off of their plane Wednesday night and after a judge determined inconsistencies in their testimonies, the swimmers were ordered to surrender their passports.
The three men are expected to meet with Brazilian law enforcement Thursday, but they are not expected to deliver apologies, said Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada, who also painted 32-year-old Lochte and friends as “kids” having fun.
“No apologizes from [Lochte] or other athletes are needed,” he said. “We have to understand that these kids were trying to have fun. They came here, they represent their country to the best of their ability. They train for years. They competed under gigantic pressure.
“But let’s give these kids a break. Sometimes you take actions that you later regret. Lochte is one of the best swimmers of all time. They had fun, they made a mistake, life goes on.”
News of the fabrication caused outrage in Brazil – the alleged crime paints the residents of Rio as violent while placing the disenfranchised communities in danger of intense police presence.