Despite the failure of Brazilian officials to corroborate this story, Ryan Lochte is sticking to his narrative: that he, along with fellow U.S. Olympic swimmers Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen, were robbed at gunpoint on the streets of Rio.
According to the Lochte, the group was heading back to the Olympic Village after a party, so they hailed a taxi. However, Lochte said, the ride was soon interrupted.
“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,” Lochte said in an interview with NBC News. “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.”
So, end of story, right?
As of Wednesday, police in Rio have been unable to find any evidence supporting the athletes’ claims, including the taxi driver or any witnesses to the reported crime.
A Brazilian judge ordered the seizure of the swimmers’ passports, to keep them from leaving the country while the investigation was still underway, but Lochte was already back in the States. Conger and Bentz, however, were pulled off their plane before takeoff and detained for questioning. They were released that night “with the understanding that they would continue their discussions about the incident on Thursday,” said United States Olympic Committee spokesperson Patrick Sandusky.
Amidst all of this, Lochte still insists that his account of what happened that night is nothing but truthful.
“I wouldn’t make up a story like this nor would the others,” Matt Lauer quoted Lochte as saying on Today, after a phone conversation he had with Lochte on Wednesday. “As a matter of fact, we all feel it makes us look bad. We’re victims in this and we’re happy that we’re safe.”