Brazilian authorities pulled two American swimmers off a flight from the South American nation to the United States after a local judge ordered four Olympians held in the country.
The authorities detained Jack Conger, 21, and Gunnar Bentz, 20, in an ostensible effort to get to the bottom of a robbery. The two swimmers, who both won gold for the 4x200m freestyle, say that locals robbed them and two teammates this past weekend after a night of partying.
The allegation from such high-profile athletes, including Ryan Lochte, winner of 12 medals since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, brought great embarrassment upon Brazilian authorities, particularly because of the allegation that the brigands wore police uniforms. Now the Brazilians seek to return the favor by investigating the alleged victims.
Lochte left Brazil on Monday. But that didn’t stop a judge from issuing a warrant demanding his passport, too.
The Brazilians also apparently prevented teammate Jimmy Feigen, the 26-year-old who won gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay, from leaving the country on Wednesday. Feigen says he intends to speak to police Thursday.
“I’m just trying to give Brazil what they need or what they want and get out of here,” the now twice waylaid Feigen told USA Today. “It’s a hassle. But I’m safe, everything’s fine.”
The International Olympic Committee initially denied the robbery and the Brazilian authorities now question the version of events given by the American swimmers. The swimmers’ sketchy version of events drawsquestions beyond law enforcement in Brazil.
The Brazilians maintain the swimmers varied on the number of assailants who rolled them and that Ryan Lochte now says a thug merely pointed a gun at his forehead after he first alleged a robber put the gun to his forehead. Basic details such as the color of the taxi in which the swimmers rode, the location of the robbery, and whether the car pulled over voluntarily or did so at the behest of the fake-cops-turned-real robbers continue to evolve. A closed-circuit camera allegedly captured the alleged victims in a jovial mood after returning to the athletes’ village after the robbery, which local authorities find suspicious. And Lochte initially reported the alleged crime to his mom rather than the cops, which police also find peculiar.