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Two 'mugged' US Olympic swimmers leave Rio

2016-08-19 05:24
Jack Conger (Getty Images)

Rio de Janeiro - Brazilian authorities let two US swimmers leave Rio on Thursday after they retracted a claim to have been victims of a dramatic mugging during the Olympic Games, officials said.

Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger were given back their confiscated passports and "recently departed Rio," US Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said in a statement.

The US Olympic chief also offered an apology "to our hosts in Rio and the people of Brazil," saying the swimmers' behavior "is not acceptable" and that "potential consequences" would be decided later.

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

The fourth, swimming superstar Ryan Lochte, was already back in the United States when the scandal erupted. A Brazilian judge issued an order Wednesday for all four swimmers to be kept in Brazil while their story was probed.

Lochte said last Sunday that the four were victims of a robbery by at least one armed assailant posing as a Rio policeman. The claim caused a major stir at the Olympics and forced Brazilian authorities into an apology for the supposed security lapse.

However, Brazilian police said on Thursday that what really happened was the athletes were drunk and got into an altercation with security staff after vandalising a gas station where they stopped in a taxi to use the bathroom.

Blackmun indicated that the athletes questioned by police on Thursday had recanted and confirmed the police version of the incident.

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

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