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Gold-medal winning American swimmer Ryan Lochte robbed at Rio olympics

Lochte was one of four American swimmers robbed at gunpoint in Rio by men posing as police officers early Sunday.

by VICE News
Aug 14 2016, 6:30pm

Ryan Locate (left) and Michael Phelps (right) celebrate after winning the mens 200 meter individual medley final in the US Olympic swimming team trials at CenturyLink Center. (Erich Schlegel/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Four American Olympic swimmers, including the gold-medal winner Ryan Lochte, were robbed in Rio by armed men posing as police officers.

US Olympic Committee spokesperson Patrick Sandusky said in a statement that 32-year-old Lochte, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feign were leaving Club France, the French Olympic team's hospitality house, in the early hours of Sunday morning in a taxi when the robbery occurred.

"The taxi was stopped by individuals posing as armed police officers who demanded the athletes' money and other personal belongings," Sandusky said.

Lochte told a version of this story to NBC on Sunday afternoon.

"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."

Related: The Rio Olympics want you to forget that Brazil is in turmoil

His mother, Ileana Lochte, told USA Today Sunday morning that the swimmers were shaken up.

"They just took their wallets and basically that was it," Ileana Lochte said.

Initially the International Olympic Committee spokesman said the reports of the incident were "absolutely not true." But US Olympic Committee spokesperson Sandusky's statement and Lochte's NBC interview confirmed the reports.

Brazilian officials dispatched thousands of soldiers and police to patrol the areas around the olympics. Brazil has high rates of violent crime, and, according to the UN, ranks in the top 20 countries by intentional homicide rate. The country has also battled negative reports about the preparation and execution of the games, including pools that turned green during international competitions broadcast around the world.

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