Ryan Lochte’s mother has reported that her Olympic swimmer son was held up at gunpoint and knifepoint in Rio after a party in the city on August 14. She described the terrifying incident, which thankfully left Ryan unharmed, to a sports reporter at the games.
UPDATE: Ryan has confirmed to NBC News that he was robbed at gunpoint; after initially denying the incident, an IOC spokesperson has also confirmed the robbery.
“We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over,” Ryan said. “They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground — they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn’t do anything wrong, so — I’m not getting down on the ground.
“And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, “Get down,” and I put my hands up, I was like ‘whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet — he left my cell phone, he left my credentials.”
USOC spokesperson Patrick Sandusky also told NBC News in a statement: “According to four members of the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team (Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, Jimmy Feigen and Ryan Lochte), they left France House early Sunday morning in a taxi headed for the Olympic Village. Their taxi was stopped by individuals posing as armed police officers who demanded the athletes’ money and other personal belongings. All four athletes are safe and cooperating with authorities.”
Original story: Ryan Lochte, 32, was allegedly held at gunpoint and knifepoint after attending a party in downtown Rio de Janeiro on the night of August 13, according to the Olympic swimmer’s mother. Ryan’s mom, Ileana Lochte, told a reporter from Fox Sports Australia, Ben Way, that her son and three of his Team USA teammates, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and Jimmy Feigen, were invited to the party by Brazilian swimmer Thiago Pereria.
They were allegedly held up as they stopped for gas in the early hours of Sunday morning, August 14, after attending the party. The criminal and accomplices only got away with Ryan’s wallet, and everyone was thankfully left unharmed, according to Illeana. She told the Fox News Australia reporter that Ryan had relayed the incident to her via text, and that she was on her way to see him later that afternoon.
The IOC initially denied this incident happened, saying the story is “absolutely not true,” per spokesperson Mark Adams. However, another Rio 2016 spokesperson, Mario Andrade, said he had heard “there was an issue” with Ryan, but could not confirm what it was. The story gets stranger with Ryan’s personal coach, David Marsh, who is also the head coach for Team USA women’s swimming, denying the incident happened, too. But Ben Way is sticking with what Ryan’s mother told him:
For those asking…
All I can tell you is what Ryan's mother told me. And others, it would seem. I believe her 100% https://t.co/y5RxakZtVF
— Ben Way (@BenWayFOX) August 14, 2016
Thiago Pereria’s rep Flávio Perez also confirmed that the robbery happened to The Washington Post, but with conflicting details from Ileana’s account:
“Thiago Pereira and his wife Gabriela Pauletti were in Club France, the French house in Brazil, and they were celebrating the birthday of a friend in common. Lochte was also in the same place, commemorating the same birthday. Ryan and Thiago are friends. Thiago and his wife left earlier, they left alone, the two of them. Thiago and his wife went back to their hotel. Then Thiago, on finding out what happened, called Ryan. Ryan is well, and Thiago said that the robbery, according to Ryan, was in the taxi. The taxi was robbed.”
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