The already-confusing story about the alleged robbery of four U.S. Olympic swimmers has gotten stranger, and bigger, with a Brazilian judge ordering two of them, including Ryan Lochte, to surrender their passports and to not leave the country. One problem: Lochte’s already back home.
If you need to catch up: Lochte and three teammates said they were pulled over in a taxi on their way back from a party early Sunday morning, and robbed at gunpoint by a man (or men—important distinction!) pretending to be police. Lochte said they didn’t initially inform police or the USOC because they were afraid of getting into trouble, but eventually told their stories. Yesterday, a Rio police source cast doubt on what Lochte had told them.
Today, an order by Judge Keyla Blanc, presiding over a special court set up for big sporting events, demanded that Lochte and Jimmy Feigen, the other swimmer who spoke to police, remain in Brazil to answer further questions.
The judge cited discrepancies in their testimonies, including the fact that Lochte said there had been one robber, while Feigen allegedly said there had been more than one. Additionally, the judge said she viewed surveillance footage of the four arriving back at the Olympic Village after the alleged robbery, and they apparently didn’t look like people who had just been robbed, but instead were joking with each other.
Seeking to question the swimmers, Rio police went to the athletes’ village this morning but found none of them. Lochte flew back to the United States on Tuesday, his lawyer said, while the location of the other three isn’t clear.
I have absolutely no idea what’s going on here, but I really hope the court has more evidence than “their stories didn’t match” (people’s memories aren’t great in traumatic situations!) and “they were joking around later” (people react in odd ways to adrenaline surges!) before they try to seize anyone’s passports.
A USOC spokesperson promised its full cooperation with Brazilian authorities.