By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Media reports of the robbery of four U.S. Olympians during the early hours of Sunday morning were confirmed by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) on Sunday afternoon. The four athletes were robbed at gunpoint in a taxi, while going back to the Olympic Village after a party at France’s hospitality house.

Brazil, Rio de Janeiro,U.S. Swimmer Ryan Lochte (right) is in Rio to compete in the Olympics,
U.S. Swimmer Ryan Lochte (right) is in Rio to compete in the Olympics, photo internet reproduction.

“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,” said the statement issued by the USOC.

Adding “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.”

Earlier in the day Brazil’s Sports Ministry tried to put the blame on the U.S. swimming athletes for being out and about in the city at an ‘inappropriate hour’, and defended the city’s security system for the Games.

“Security at the Olympics has been absolutely efficient. The delegations and athletes have participated in competitions without any problems. Those who bought their ticket and went to the games have gone without any problems. We cannot measure [security] by an incident that has occurred outside the competition venues, outside the appropriate time. Certainly no athlete had problems in their local competition, in their training routine and in their time in the Olympic village,” Picciani told reporters.

There have however, been a number of reports of tourists being robbed throughout the city, including Portugal’s Education Minister and the president of the Moscow Swimming Confederation in Ipanema and Australian Paralympic athletes in Flamengo.

The Brazilian government announced at the beginning of the Olympic Games that it was putting more than 85,000 security agents, including the Armed Forces, to patrol the major competition venues and tourist hotspots in Rio.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Olympic security chief of the opening ceremony attacked after opening ceremony before knife-wielding robber… things are bad with the “head of security” is robbed.

  2. This robbery reflects very poorly on the security cheif and the Olympic committee. I can’t see me or my family and friends visiting there dangerous city.

  3. I’m really interested to hear if the taxi driver was robbed, too!
    Been to Rio, seen the problem.
    But ‘posing as police officers’?
    More to this than meets the eye….

  4. Providing Olympic security is tough in any city and I think most reasonable people around the world understand this and also appreciate the lengths Rio has gone to in an effort to provide high security under very challenging circumstances. I am Australian and there has been reporting here of the above incident plus an Australian journalist was robbed in Ipanema (by a thief from Peru apparently) and a few other matters. I think most people were expecting worse and are actually pleased at the low level of robberies being reported. One also has to ask, how many robberies and violent incidents have occurred at other recent Olympics? The media went to Rio expecting security problems and have been looling for them. They did not have this focus in London, Beijing, Sydney or Barcelona so any incidents are less likely to have been reported.

  5. As a citizen of Rio de Janeiro, a city with over 6.4 million inhabitants, I can tell that, during the games, the level of security on the streets – specially on touristic regions – has been so high that an episode like Lochte unfortunatellyfaced, does not resume the reality.

    Thanks, Ashley!

  6. It is a shame to spend so much money with such event. Brazil needs to invest in schools and health in order to fight poverty and violence.
    This kind of event does not add anything to improve real living conditions.

  7. Or, another possibility, as a Brazilian Judge has questioned, and now news reports around the world are beginning to question – “They may have filed a False Police Report”…

  8. Interesting that the Brazilian Ministry placed blame on the athletes for being out at an inappropriate time…. one must wonder it that is journalistic headline enhancement… still the incident is unfortunate. Conversely, NO amount of security can guarantee total security. Cops or soldiers or security guards rolling drunks? It can happen anywhere. Lochte was smart to get on a plane and just get out of Brazil.

  9. What I’ve heard the the guys were intoxicated. If they are now wanting Loecte’s passport, I’d imagine they will investigate for recreational drugs or something similar. Doesn’t mean they’re guilty, but things aren’t adding up right now.

  10. As events unfold it appears almost certain that this report of a robbery was a hoax. Some confusion is expected in reports from multiple individuals but not to the extent shown in this case and not on such critical details. Somebody is not being truthful and it doesn’t appear that it is the authorities.

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