Ryan Lochte has reached the U.S.A. but his two swimming teammates have been pulled off their flight ahead of its departure from Rio de Janeiro.
Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz, both of whom won gold in the Olympic swimming team events along with Lochte, have been detained for the investigation of the alleged armed robbery of which they claimed to be victims.
The conflicting accounts of the reported robbery have thrown the case in the middle of sharp tension, with the International Olympic Committee initially rubbishing the claims made by Lochte’s mother.
Ryan Lochte then said that a gun was held to his head as he was travelling in a taxi outside of the Games Village premises with Conger, Bentz, and Jimmy Feigen, and they was asked to comply.
I would rather watch Ryan Lochte being interrogated by Brazilian police than like 90% of Olympic sports.— Josh Gondelman (@joshgondelman) August 18, 2016
Lochte also, apparently, said, “Whatever” to the armed robbers who masqueraded as policemen.
According to his initial story, told in a beachside interview to NBC, Lochte and his teammates had escaped unscathed. Only credit cards and cash were stolen.
The IOC then agreed with the story, with an official line coming in from the United States Olympic Committee as well.
Ryan Lochte’s quick escape from a situation that his teammates are now dealing with has naturally led to an outburst of memes and reactions on social media with many alleging that the star swimmer lied for attention.
Ryan Lochte left the other swimmers and Rio behind like pic.twitter.com/IgNFHSjx1E— Ritzseid (@Its__Ritz) August 18, 2016
However, Brazilian authorities are reluctant to subscribe to the authenticity of Lochte’s story. According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, Judge Keyla Blanc de Cnop had ordered police in Rio to seize the passports of Lochte and Jimmy Feigen.
The same LA Times report also notes that, adding fuel to the fire of the rumor that the veracity of their robbery story is questionable, the athletes appeared nonchalant on CCTV cameras as they returned to the Village in the early hours of the morning — supposedly after having been robbed.
Unverified social media reports alleged that Lochte’s reportedly stolen wallet was apparently seen in one of the many full-body X-rays that residents of the Village are subjected to while entering and leaving premises.
However, now that two of his teammates have been detained over investigations, it appears that Ryan Lochte has altered his version a bit. As reported by the Washington Times, Lochte no longer claims that a gun was held to his head.
Ryan Lochte, in a telephone interview with NBC‘s Matt Lauer, now says that a gun was pointed in his direction. Lochte also said that the authorities’ treatment of him was “casual” and “friendly.” The recording of the conversation can be found here.
Feigen, meanwhile, has been in Rio throughout and, according to a phone interview with USA Today on Wednesday night, is co-operating with investigations.
“I’m just trying to give Brazil what they need or what they want and get out of here. It’s a hassle. But I’m safe, everything’s fine.”
Brazilian authorities are unlikely to leave any stone unturned in an effort to establish the truth of the robbery. According to Yahoo Sports, the local newspaper Globo has reported that investigators are keen to obtain a search warrant to look into the premises of the Games Village.
This could help them use GPS data from Feigen’s phone in an effort to establish the whereabouts of the swimmers on the night.
Ryan Lochte is a 12-time Olympic medalist who won gold at the last Olympic race of his career, the 4×200 meter freestyle.
The 32-year-old has always courted the public eye, but this is the first time that he has found himself at that center of an international confusion.
Happy to be in the spotlight over his reality shows, his presence on dating app Tinder, and the green tinge that his newly colored silver hair had developed, accounts of robberies are alien ground for Ryan Lochte. On Wednesday night, he tweeted on a pressing topic.
My hair is going back to its normal color tomorrow ????— Ryan Lochte (@RyanLochte) August 16, 2016
[Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images]