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Here's How Ryan Lochte's Robbery Story Turned Into An International Incident

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August 14, 1:47 a.m.: US swimmers Ryan Lochte, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and Jimmy Feigen arrive at an Olympic party at France House in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


In security footage, the four men can be seen moving around in a hallway where the bathroom is apparently located, though it is unclear what is occurring.

After they leave the bathroom, the men get back into the taxi, but are approached by gas station employees. The men get back out of the car, and one of them has his hands raised, as if in surrender.

In a news conference Thursday, Brazilian police said the employees and some police security guards talked to the swimmers using a third-party translator, explaining that they had damaged the bathroom — including doors and mirrors — and should pay for the damages.

Police said the swimmers gave them $20 USD and $100 Brazilian real — about $30 USD — before leaving the gas station to go back to the village. Lochte was the most aggressive of the group and was clearly intoxicated, police said.

A security guard did at one point pull a gun on the swimmers because they were behaving aggressively, police added.


9:27 a.m.: Fox Sports reports that Lochte was robbed at gunpoint.

BREAKING: @USASwimming Gold medallist Ryan Lochte has been held up at gunpoint at a party in Brazil. Details on @FOXSportsNews 500.

10:27 a.m.: A spokesman for the International Olympic Committee says the claims are not true.

IOC director of comms Mark Adams has just said Lochte gunpoint story is "not true."

10:39 a.m.: Ileana Lochte says her son called her immediately after being "robbed."

“I think they’re all shaken up. There were a few of them,” she told USA Today. “No, they were just, they just took their wallets and basically that was it.”

12:45 p.m.: Lochte tells NBC that robbers posing as police officers pressed a gun to his forehead.

View this video on YouTube

Here is Lochte's first description of the incident:

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. 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.

5:57 p.m.: Lochte reiterates on social media that he and his teammates were "victims of a robbery."

Aug. 17: A Brazilian judge issues an order to seize Lochte's and Feigen's passports so they cannot leave the country. However, Lochte is already gone, and Feigen is MIA.


An attorney for the swimmers confirmed they were released from custody, but said they will not be allowed to leave Brazil until they testify about the robbery, the Associated Press reported.

Aug. 18: In an interview with NBC, Lochte recants some of his story, saying a gun was never pressed to his forehead, but maintains he was robbed.

BREAKING NEWS: @MLauer reports after speaking with Ryan Lochte directly:

However, when NBC's Matt Lauer questioned Lochte about his change in story, Lochte said he "wouldn't make up a story like this, nor would the others."

At an afternoon news conference though, police say the Olympians were not robbed, and trashed the bathroom while drunk.

That's when they got into a confrontation with the security guard, who told investigators Lochte was so erratic, he pulled a gun on the Olympian.

Later in the evening, the swimmers' passports were released, freeing them up to leave the nation.

Sergio Riera, the attorney for Bentz and Conger, told BuzzFeed News the swimmers were interviewed as witnesses, not suspects, and there was no reason for their passports to be withheld.

His clients planned to be on a plane to return to the United States, "perhaps tonight," Riera added.

Rio police handed their investigation over to prosecutors, who will decide whether to file charges in the case.

If prosecutors do decide to file, a judge would also still need to sign off.

The swimmers could face charges related to vandalism and filing a false police report, officials said. Rio's police chief, meanwhile, has called on them to apologize, saying it would be the right thing to do.

For the quick tl;dr version of the drama, watch this:

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Ema O'Connor is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.

Contact Ema O'Connor at

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