Four American swimmers competing in the Olympics, including six-time gold medalist Ryan Lochte, were robbed at gunpoint in Rio early Sunday, authorities said.
Lochte and fellow swimmers Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen had left a party at France House and were traveling to the Olympic Village by taxi when the incident occurred, the United States Olympic Committee said in a statement.
“Their taxi was stopped by individuals posing as armed police officers who demanded the athletes’ money and other personal belongings,” spokesman Patrick Sandusky said. “All four athletes are safe and cooperating with authorities.”
One of the men put a cocked gun to Lochte’s head, he told 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.”
Lochte said he refused to get down, saying they hadn’t done anything wrong.
“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,’” Lochte continued. “He took our money, he took my wallet — he left my cell phone, he left my credentials.”
Lochte and the U.S.O.C. initially denied the incident occurred.
The American swimmers were not the first Olympian victims of crime during the 2016 summer games.
The chief of security was mugged at knife-point on the night of the opening ceremony, two coaches were robbed in Ipanema and some athletes saw their belongings stolen during a fire drill at the Olympic village, the New York Times wrote.
Crime and violence was a concern leading up to the Rio Games, as the government deployed a security force of 85,000 for the Games, the streets surrounding the Olympic Park and the Olympic Village.