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US Olympic swimmers taken off US-bound aircraft

On Wednesday night two of the four swimmers, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, were taken off a US-bound aircraft at Rio de Janeiro airport. Team-mate James Feigen had remained in Brazil, while gold medalist Ryan Lochte had already returned to the US on Monday.

It is understood that a judge ordered that the passports of the four athletes should be confiscated, “pending further police questioning, amid reports of inconsistencies in the men’s accounts of the alleged robbery”. At the time, reports say, Lochte had left the country already.

When the story first unfolded, the swimmers had reported being robbed at gunpoint. But Rio’s Police were not convinced when CCTV footage timestamps did not match what the athletes were saying. Their passports were confiscated by authorities, and now the story has taken another twist.

International media are now reporting that the four U.S. Olympic swimmers damaged a gasoline station and were subsequently involved in an argument with security personnel, who instructed them to pay for the damage. This incident further generates doubt on their story of being robbed.

According to a BBC report, “Three of the swimmers remain in Brazil and are due to be questioned by police.” All the athletes now have legal counsels.

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