US swimmers quit Brazil after admitting to inventing mugging

US Olympic authorities apologized to Brazil as two US swimmers were allowed to go home having retracted a fabricated story about being mugged in Rio.

PTI| Updated: Aug 19, 2016, 13:57 PM IST
US swimmers quit Brazil after admitting to inventing mugging

Rio De Janeiro: US Olympic authorities apologized to Brazil as two US swimmers were allowed to go home having retracted a fabricated story about being mugged in Rio.

"We apologize to our hosts in Rio and the people of Brazil for this distracting ordeal in the midst of what should rightly be a celebration of excellence," US Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said in a statement.

Four US swimmers, including six gold medal hero Ryan Lochte, have been at the centre of a media storm in Brazil since claiming they were held up at gunpoint in a Rio gas station in the early hours of Sunday.

Blackmun spoke after Brazilian police let Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger leave the country. "Their passports have been released and they recently departed Rio," he said.

A third swimmer, James Feigen, has also given police "a revised statement" about the fake mugging story "with the hope of securing the release of his passport as soon as possible," Blackmun said.

Lochte, was already back in the United States when the scandal erupted.

Lochte said on Sunday that the four had been victims of a robbery by at least one armed assailant posing as a Rio policeman.

The claim forced Brazil's Olympics organizers into an apology for the supposed security lapse.

Amid growing doubts, however, a Brazilian judge issued an order Wednesday that all four swimmers be kept in Brazil while the story was probed.

Brazilian police said Thursday the athletes were drunk and got into an altercation with security staff after vandalizing a gas station bathroom during a night on the town.

Blackmun indicated that the athletes, questioned by police Thursday, had confirmed the police version.

"They stopped at a gas station to use the restroom, where one of the athletes committed an act of vandalism," the US statement said.

"An argument ensued between the athletes and two armed gas station security staff, who displayed their weapons, ordered the athletes from their vehicle and demanded the athletes provide a monetary payment. Once the security officials received money from the athletes, the athletes were allowed to leave."
- Lies and videotape -
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Rio de Janeiro's police chief Fernando Veloso called on the athletes to apologize.