Ryan Lochte (Getty Images)
Rio de Janeiro - A
robber put a gun to Ryan Lochte's head on Sunday demanding money as he
drove home from an Olympic party, the star US swimmer told NBC
Lochte said he and US teammates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy
Feigen were in a taxi that was pulled over by robbers posing as armed
When he ignored an order to get down on the ground, "the guy pulled
out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said 'Get
down,'" Lochte told the US channel.
"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."
Confusion surrounded the incident after International Olympic
Committee spokesman Mark Adams told a media briefing earlier that
reports of the robbery quoting Lochte's mother, Ileana, were "absolutely
Adams said the IOC got its information from the US Olympic Committee.
But USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky later issued a statement outlining the events as Lochte described them.
"According to four members of the US Olympic Swimming Team (Gunnar
Bentz, Jack Conger, Jimmy Feigen and Ryan Lochte), they left France
House early Sunday morning in a taxi headed for the Olympic Village,"
"Their taxi was stopped by individuals posing as armed police
officers who demanded the athletes' money and other personal belongings.
"All four athletes are safe and cooperating with authorities."
Lochte and friends had been attending a party with Brazilian swimmer
Thiago Pereira at Club France, a hospitality complex on the Rodrigo de
Freitas lagoon run by the French Olympic Committee.
Amid the conflicting reports, Rio's famed Copacabana and Ipanema
beaches have been made off limits to Australian athletes after dark.
Australian Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller said the country's swimmers - now free to sight-see after completion of their competition - were
among the Aussie delegation that have been instructed to take extra
precautions when outside secure Olympic areas.
"There's been a lot of increased petty criminal, but criminal,
activity on the actual beaches," Chiller said, explaining that the no-go
zone included the sandy beaches but not the boardwalks.
Thefts and muggings, common in Rio, have become the talk of the town
around the Olympics. A government minister, athletes, coaches and press
photographers have all fallen victim.
Australian team members had already been instructed to travel in
groups of three and use vehicles for transport after dark "even if
you're only going 400 or 500 meters", Chiller said.
Team leaders have been reminded to keep tabs on where athletes and staff are.
Australian swimmer Mitch Larkin said it was disappointing to have to
worry about visiting some of Rio's most famous spots, but was
"There's so many other areas that we can see," he said. "We will
still see parts of Rio. Unfortunately it probably won't be the famous
Copacabana, but we've driven past it."