Brazil Yanks 2 US Swimmers Off Plane Home

Ryan Lochte changes details but insists robbery took place
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2016 1:11 AM CDT
Updated Aug 18, 2016 6:27 AM CDT
2 US Swimmers Pulled Off Plane Home
Accompanied by Brazilian lawyer Sergio Viegas, second from right, American Olympic swimmers Gunnar Bentz, center, and Jack Conger, right, leave the airport police station.   (AP Photo/Mauro Pimentel)

American swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz are going to be staying in Brazil for longer than they bargained for. Authorities pulled the men off their flight back to the US at Rio's international airport on Wednesday for questioning over their alleged robbery, the New York Times reports. Their passports were confiscated by court order and a US Olympic Committee spokesman tells NBC News that they were released "with the understanding that they would continue their discussions about the incident on Thursday." Police also want to speak to swimmer Ryan Lochte, who has already returned to the US. The USOC spokesman says a fourth swimmer, Jimmy Feigen, is still in Brazil and is cooperating with authorities.

In an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer Wednesday night, Lochte said they were robbed by two men with guns and badges after returning to their taxi during a stop at a gas station to use the bathroom. The Americans were ordered out and onto the ground, he said. On Sunday, he gave a slightly different version of events, saying their taxi was pulled over by the robbers. Lochte also initially said a man put a gun to his forehead, though he now says it was pointed in his general direction. Lochte strongly rejected suggestions that the story had been fabricated. "I wouldn't make up a story like this nor would the others—as a matter of fact we all feel it makes us look bad," he said, as quoted by Lauer. Lochte and Feigen have both told investigators that they were intoxicated at the time. (Read more 2016 Olympics stories.)

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