By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Federal Police in Brazil pulled two U.S. Olympic swimmers from a United flight from Rio de Janeiro to Houston, Texas on Wednesday night and took them in for questioning related to the robbery which occurred on Friday night (August 12th) in the city.
“Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were detained Wednesday night shortly before their flight was scheduled to depart from Rio. They were released by local authorities with the understanding that they would continue their discussions about the incident on Thursday,” said USOC spokesperson Patrick Sandusky.
The two were taken from the plane to a police unit inside Rio de Janeiro’s Tom Jobim International Airport where they were reported questioned for four hours before allowing to leave to a nearby hotel.
On Tuesday Brazilian judge Keyla Blanc De Cnop ordered the seizure of the U.S. passports of four Olympic swimmers (Ryan Lochte, James Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger) after television images seemed to contradict robbery reports made by the four athletes.
The images show the U.S. swimmers leaving France’s Hospitality House almost three hours after they said they left. Another contradiction that Brazilian authorities hope to straighten out is the number of assailants involved in the robbery, and whether or not any of them pointed a gun directly to Lochte’s head, as first reported.
Lochte and Feigen went to a Rio police station to report the robbery, but there are no accounts of Bentz and Conger having done the same. At that time Lochte and Feigen said their wallets were robbed by men who had shown them police badges.
Although the judge ordered the four to stay in Brazil until inconsistencies are cleared up, Lochte left for the United States on Monday, two days before the order was given.
According to the USOC spokesperson announced that the third swimmer, James Feigen, is also communicating with local authorities and intends to make further statements regarding the incident on Thursday.
“The three U.S. Olympic swimmers (Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen) are cooperating with authorities and in the process of scheduling a time and place today (Thursday) to provide further statements to the Brazilian authorities. All are represented by counsel and being appropriately supported by the USOC and the U.S. Consulate in Rio,” said Sandusky.