Initially, it seemed like an outrage that members of the U.S. men’s swim team had been pulled from the U.S.-bound plane they had boarded and ordered by a Brazilian judge to remain in the country. But new information has emerged, which suggests that the swimmers were not victims of an armed robbery as claimed. Worse yet, Ryan Lochte and three fellow Olympians have effectively confessed to having done damage at a gas station and “fighting” with a security guard at the time the robbery allegedly occurred.
— Matt Gutman (@mattgutmanABC) August 18, 2016
From Yahoo Sports and other sources:
A security guard drew a gun at the U.S. swimmers after they drunkenly “destroyed a gas station toilet and refused to pay for the damage,” according to the British Daily Mail, and the swimmers then paid.
American swimmers Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, James Feigen and Lochte claimed to be victims of an alleged armed robbery of their taxi cab en route to the Olympic Village on their way back from a party at the French hospitality house early Sunday morning, according to the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Video obtained by the Daily Mail appeared to show the U.S. swimmers returning to the Olympic Village around 7 a.m. on Sunday — after the alleged robbery — carrying valuables and joking with each other.
The story remains murky in one regard and that is in respect to an alleged surveillance video that Brazilian authorities claim to have, which would positively substantiate the athletes’ guilt.
Apart from the as-yet-unfurnished video, late reports indicate the Americans covered the cost of the damage they inflicted:
BREAKING: U.S. Olympic swimmers caused damage at gas station, which they paid for in cash – Brazilian security source
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) August 18, 2016
This doesn’t excuse or exonerate their behavior, but it does suggest that reports describing this indiscretion as an “international incident” are overblown.