Former Florida swimmer Ryan Lochte and three other U.S. swimmers were robbed at gunpoint early Sunday morning after their taxi was stopped by individuals posing as armed police officers.
The robbers demanded the athletes’ money and other personal belongings, but did not harm either Lochte, or teammates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen. For that, Lochte expressed his gratitude for his safety on Instagram.
The Gators great has been in Rio as a participant in the 2016 Olympic Games. He recalled the event in an interview with NBC News.
“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. “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.”
USA Today’s Rachel Axon confirmed the event transpired through Lochte’s mother, who said she received the news in a text message from her son.
“I think they’re all shaken up. There were a few of them,” Ileana Lochte said, according to USA Today. “No, they were just, they just took their wallets and basically that was it.”
The IOC is denying this report, with a spokesman referring to reports of the incident are “absolutely not true.”
Lochte won a gold medal for his part in the 4-x-200 freestyle relay for the United States. The 32-year-old has 12 Olympic medals, making him the second-most decorated United States swimmer in history behind Michael Phelps’ 28 medals.