Five-Ring Circus

Reports: Ryan Lochte and Fellow Swimmers Fabricated Robbery Story

U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte holds a press conference on Aug. 3 in Rio de Janeiro, two days ahead of the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

On Thursday morning, ABC News—citing a “Brazilian police source”—reported that security camera footage shows a confrontation at the gas station where Ryan Lochte claimed he and his fellow swimmers were robbed at gunpoint. ABC’s description of that confrontation: “one of the swimmers was seen on CCTV footage breaking down the door to the bathroom at the gas station and fighting with a security guard.”

Though the article published on the ABC News website doesn’t go this far, reporter Matt Gutman, who has a byline on the article, tweeted that the robbery tale had been fabricated, this time citing “Brazil sources.”

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And here’s Reuters’ contribution to the Lochte news fire hose:

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Reuters doesn’t go quite as far as ABC, saying only that the gas station fight “cast[s] doubt” on the robbed-at-gunpoint story.

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Four U.S. Olympic swimmers caused damage at a gasoline station and were involved in a dispute with guards who asked them to pay for the damage, a Brazilian security source said on Thursday, casting doubt on their story that they were robbed at gunpoint.

Also on Thursday, a Rio 2016 spokesman had this to say about Lochte, and whether the swimmer has anything to apologize for.

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Update, Aug. 15: The Associated Press is now also reporting that the robbery story was fabricated. The AP report, which comes via an anonymous Brazilian police official, says the swimmers were confronted by a security guard after breaking a bathroom door.

According to the official, the gas station manager then arrived. Using a customer to translate, the manager asked the swimmers to pay for the broken door. After a discussion, they did pay him an unknown amount of money and then left.

The official says that swimmers [Jack] Conger and [Gunnar] Bentz, who were pulled off a plane going back to the United States late Wednesday, told police that the robbery story had been fabricated.

Read more of Slate’s Olympics coverage.

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