Ryan Lochte won a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but he's gained much more attention at the games for what happened out of the pool. Or at least what he says happened. Lochte claimed he and swimming teammates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen were robbed early in the morning of Aug. 14 in Rio. That is only the start of what has become a bizarre story with denials, story changes and even withheld passports adding to the situation.
Even now, days after the initial claim was made, the facts around the situation remain mostly unclear. Lochte has changed his story, although he still claims the robbery happened. Meanwhile the Brazilian government has been unable to get to the bottom of it and is taking extreme measures to do so.
Here is everything we know about the situation as the layers continued to be peeled off.
Aug. 14, 9:27 a.m.: The first reports of Lochte being held at gunpoint surface
Ben Way of Fox Sports had the news first, tweeting that Lochte was held at gunpoint at a party.
Initially, there was no reason to believe the report wasn't true. That lasted for about an hour.
Aug. 14, 10:27 a.m.: The IOC denies the story, citing the USOC
An hour after the first news hit, the first denial followed. Mark Adams of the International Olympic Committee was quick to deny the story.
IOC director of comms Mark Adams has just said Lochte gunpoint story is "not true."— Ben Rumsby (@ben_rumsby) August 14, 2016
The IOC doesn't exactly have the most sterling reputation, so that initial denial was met with some skepticism. But, the IOC followed up to say the information it got came from the United States Olympic Committee.
More from Adams on Lochte. Said his info came from USOC: "They said they’d spoken to Lochte, who said it wasn’t true."— Ben Rumsby (@ben_rumsby) August 14, 2016
At this point, it was hard to have any idea what was going on. The initial reports were met with apparent denials from the USOC, which would seemingly have access to Lochte to verify the story. If anything, it seemed like the initial report was incorrect.
Aug. 14, 10:39 a.m: Lochte's mother, Ileana Lochte, confirms the story is indeed true
Ileana Lochte spoke to USA Today and said that her son had indeed said the story was true. She added in some details, including that Lochte and teammates were in a cab when they were confronted by people with guns and had their wallets stolen.
Aug. 14, 12:45 p.m.: Lochte details the incident and says a robber pressed a gun to his forehead
In an interview with Billy Bush on TODAY Lochte told his side of the story.
"We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over," Lochte said. "They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground — they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn't do anything wrong, so — I'm not getting down on the ground.
"And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, 'Get down,' and 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."
Aug. 14, 12:58 p.m.: The USOC releases a statement confirming the reports
"According to four members of the U.S. 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."
Aug. 14, 5:57 p.m.: Lochte tweets out a statement reiterating the reports are true
While there were plenty of questionable details and some unusual circumstances, it appeared Lochte and his teammates were in fact robbed. Lochte told the same story to multiple media outlets and the various committees were finally saying the same thing.
Aug. 16, sometime: Lochte arrives back in the United States
Lochte cut his time in Rio short and instead flew back to the United States earlier than originally planned. He posted a photo on Snapchat declaring he was back on US soil.
Aug. 16, 6:03 p.m.: Lochte said the swimmers didn't tell the USOC initially because they were afraid they would get in trouble
Lochte and USOC officials were eventually able to meet and discuss the situation. The initial apprehension would explain why there was so much initial confusion between the USOC and the IOC over the claims.
Aug. 16, 9:47 p.m.: Rio police struggle to find evidence to support the robbery claim
According to the Associated Press, the swimmers were unable to provide key details and police were struggling to locate the taxi driver or any other witnesses to the robbery.
The group did not call police, authorities said, and officers began investigating once they saw media reports in which Lochte's mother spoke about the robbery. Police interviewed Lochte and one other swimmer, who said they had been intoxicated and could not remember what type and color of taxi they rode in or where the robbery happened, the police official said. The swimmers also could not say what time the events occurred.
Aug. 17, 10:34 a.m.: A Brazilian judge issued an order to seize Lochte and Feigen's passports to prevent them from leaving the country
The judge banned the swimmers from leaving Brazil, so they would give additional testimony to their claim. Lochte had flown back to the United States a day earlier. When contacted Wednesday morning Feigen told the told the San Antonio Express-News he was still in Brazil and said he was being "shit stormed."
Aug. 17, 11:29 a.m.: The USOC confirms police arrived at the Olympic village asking to talk to Lochte and Feigen
"Local police arrived at the Olympic Village this a.m. and asked to meet with Ryan Lochte and James Feigen and collect their passports in order to secure further testimony from the athletes. The swim team moved out of the village after their competition ended, so we were not able to make the athletes available.
Additionally, as part of our standard security protocol, we do not make athlete travel plans public and therefore cannot confirm the athletes' current location.
We will continue to cooperate with Brazilian authorities."
Aug. 17, 9:12 p.m.: Conger and Bentz were removed from the plane before it took off for their return flight to the United States
BREAKING: The other 2 USA swimmers who say they were w Lochte during robbery have just been pulled off their plane at Rio airport.— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) August 18, 2016
The order issued by the Brazilian judge did not include seizing Conger and Bentz's passports, but they were still removed from their flight by Brazilian authorities.
Aug. 17, 10:43 p.m.: Lochte changes his original story and now says the gun was never pressed against his forehead and the incident occurred outside a gas station bathroom.
Initially, Lochte said the taxi was pulled over by a car with people posing as police officers and that one robber pressed a gun against Lochte's head before cocking it. Now, he changed the details and said the robber pointed the gun at him. He added the incident occurred as the swimmers were leaving a gas station bathroom and the taxi driver refused to drive.
Lochte relayed the changed story to NBC's Matt Lauer, who reported that Locthe said he, "wouldn't make up a story like this, nor would the others."
Aug. 18, 12:39 a.m.: Conger and Bentz will reportedly not be allowed to leave Brazil until they testify
After being pulled off the plane by Brazilian authorities, Conger and Bentz may be forced to testify if they are going to leave Brazil.
BREAKING: Attorney says American swimmers pulled off US-bound plane will not be allowed to leave Brazil until they testify about robbery.— The Associated Press (@AP) August 18, 2016
Aug. 18, 9:30 a.m.: Brazilian authorities say a U.S. swimmer broke down a gas station restroom door and fought with a security guard
Sources told ABC news they have it all on video, and that Lochte fabricated his earlier story.
Aug. 18, 10:30 a.m.: A USOC spokesman says 3 swimmers in Brazil are cooperating with authorities
The three U.S. Olympic swimmers (Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen) are cooperating with authorities and in the process of scheduling a time and place today to provide further statements to the Brazilian authorities. All are represented by counsel and being appropriately supported by the USOC and the U.S. Consulate in Rio.
Aug. 18, 11 a.m.: Rio 2016 spokesperson Mario Andrada says to 'give these kids a break'
Lochte is a 32-year-old man.
"No apologies are needed from the athletes. This case they were having fun--training under pressure. I understand they are under investigation. Cannot go much further. Give these kids a break, sometimes we make actions that we later regret. They had fun. They made a mistake. Life goes on."
Aug. 18, 12:36 p.m.: Video emerges of American swimmers confronted at the gas station
Via Brazilian publication Globo.com:
Images of a gas station security cameras on Avenue of the Americas, in Barra da Tijuca, west of Rio Zone, show the moment of confusion among the American swimmers and security establishment. According to the video, they come out of the bathroom, which would have made the depredations and then are unable to leave the premises by security.
The images also show one of the swimmers raising their hands while addressing the security. According to the Civil Police, swimmers lied to say they were assaulted by police dressed men.
Aug. 18 12:45 p.m.: Lochte's teammates reportedly say he made up his story of being robbed
UPDATE: Ryan Lochte's teammates told police that robbery story had been fabricated by Lochte.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 18, 2016
Aug. 18, 2:25 p.m.: Brazil police confirm that security guards did point guns at the swimmers
BREAKING: Brazil police official: 2 security guards pointed guns at US Olympic swimmers during gas station confrontation.— The Associated Press (@AP) August 18, 2016
Aug. 18, 5:43 p.m.: Brazilian police recommend Lochte and Feigen be indicted on charges of false reporting of a crime
Although security footage from the gas station would appear to corroborate much of Lochte's revised story, he and Feigen both face criminal charges in Brazil for their initial fabricated story.
Aug. 18, 10:29 p.m.: The USOC apologizes to their hosts in Rio and the people of Brazil for the "distracting ordeal"
Here is the full statement from the USOC:
Two U.S. Olympic swimmers (Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger) have given statements to local authorities today regarding the incident first reported on Sunday, August 14, 2016. Their passports have been released and they recently departed Rio.
After providing a statement earlier in the week, a third (James Feigen) provided a revised statement this evening with the hope of securing the release of his passport as soon as possible.
Working in collaboration with the U.S. Consulate in Rio, we have coordinated the athletes' cooperation with local authorities and ensured their safety throughout the process, but we have not seen the full statements provided by Bentz and Conger.
However, we understand that they describe the events that many have seen on surveillance video made publicly available today. As we understand it, the four athletes (Bentz, Conger, Feigen and Ryan Lochte) left France House early in the morning of August 14 in a taxi headed to the Olympic Village. They stopped at a gas station to use the restroom, where one of the athletes committed an act of vandalism. 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.
The behavior of these athletes is not acceptable, nor does it represent the values of Team USA or the conduct of the vast majority of its members. We will further review the matter, and any potential consequences for the athletes, when we return to the United States.
On behalf of the United States Olympic Committee, 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.
With three days remaining in the Olympic Games, our primary focus will remain on supporting the athletes who are still competing and celebrating the achievements of those who have finished.
Aug. 19, 9:09 a.m.: Feigen agrees to pay $10,800 to a charity in exchange for "resolving" the dispute
Feigen's lawyer, Breno Melaragno, announced Friday that an agreement with the Brazilian authorities would allow the American swimmer to return home with the case resolved. He is the final American swimmer to be released after Conger and Bentz flew to Miami on Thursday night. Feigen is paying roughly $10,800 to an unspecified charity, then he'll be free to return to the U.S. The full comments from Melaragno:
"After a long deliberation, this agreement was reached … he will donate 35,000 real [approximately $10,800] to an institute, and with that the case is resolved ... After this donation is done, his passport will be given back to him, and he will be free to return home."
Aug. 19, 8:10 p.m.: Bentz releases a statement through the University of Georgia, detailing his story and apologizing for his actions.
Bentz mostly corroborates Lochte's revised story. The men were approached by security guards with guns and ordered to sit on the curb. The security guards demanded money and Bentz and Feigen both gave them money. Bentz also says Lochte had a confrontation with the security guards, which he also said in the original story.
"I want to offer a sincere apology to the United States Olympic Committee, USA Swimming, the extraordinary women and men of Team USA, and the University of Georgia. Being a member of the Olympic Swimming Team was an honor and a dream come true. The accomplishments of my teammates were awe-inspiring and I'm so pleased I got to see them up close. I regret this situation has drawn attention away from the Olympics, which have been hosted so incredibly well by Brazil and its citizens.
"While I am anxious to put this matter behind me and rejoin my Georgia teammates in classes, practices and competitions, I feel compelled to stress several key points.
1. I was never a suspect in the case from the beginning (Brazilian law enforcement officials saw me only as a witness).
2. I never made a false statement to anyone at any time.
"I also want to be forthright about the details of what transpired last Sunday. What follows is consistent with the account I gave to the Brazilian authorities when I was interviewed for the first and only time on Thursday in Rio de Janeiro:
"After attending an event with several swimmers from different nations, I left in a taxicab along with U.S. swimmers Jack Conger, Jimmy Feigen and Ryan Lochte around 6 a.m. On the way back to the Olympic Village, we pulled into a convenience store to use the restroom. There was no restroom inside, so we foolishly relieved ourselves on the backside of the building behind some bushes. There was a locked door out back and I did not witness anyone breaking it open. I am unsure why, but while we were in that area, Ryan pulled to the ground a framed metal advertisement that was loosely anchored to the brick wall. I then suggested to everyone that we needed to leave the area and we returned to the taxi.
"Two men, whom I believe to have been security guards, then instructed us to exit the vehicle. No guns were drawn during this exchange, but we did see a gun tucked into one of the guard's waistband. As Jimmy and Jack were walking away from the vehicle, the first security guard held up a badge to me and drew his handgun. I yelled to them to come back toward us and they complied. Then the second guard drew his weapon and both guards pointed their guns at us and yelled at us to sit on a nearby sidewalk.
"Again, I cannot speak to his actions, but Ryan stood up and began to yell at the guards. After Jack and I both tugged at him in an attempt to get him to sit back down, Ryan and the security guards had a heated verbal exchange, but no physical contact was made.
"A man that I believe to be a customer approached us and offered to help as he spoke both English and Portuguese. Understandably, we were frightened and confused during this time. Through the interpreter, one of the guards said that we needed to pay them in order to leave. I gave them what I had in my wallet, which was a $20 bill, and Jimmy gave them 100 Reals, which is about $50 in total. They lowered the guns and I used hand gestures to ask if it was okay to leave and they said yes. We walked about a block down the street and hailed another taxi to return to the Village.
"Videos of this situation have been emerging the last several days. However, I am confident that some video angles have not been shown that would further substantiate my account. I also believe some scenes have been skipped over. Additionally, I would like to stress that our original taxi was not pulled over; the only occupants of the taxi were the four of us and the driver; and to my knowledge, there was no damage done to the door or the inside of the restroom.
"I am so thankful for the love and support of my family, my friends and my teammates during this time. Without question, I am taking away a valuable life lesson from this situation. In everything I do, I am representing my family, my country and my school. I will not take that responsibility lightly."
Aug. 20: Matt Lauer interviewers Ryan Lochte
In an NBC interview, Lochte admitted that he was drunk when he initially told the story:
Matt Lauer: "One of the things you appear to have embellished with Billy when you talked to Billy is you said at some point after you refused to sit down the security guard put the gun to your forehead and cocked it. That didn’t happen?
Ryan Lochte: "That didn’t happen. And that’s why I over-exaggerated that part." Matt Lauer: "Why’d you do that?"
Ryan Lochte: "I don’t know why. You know, it was still hours after the incident happened. I was still intoxicated. I was still under that influence.
Aug. 25: Brazilian police charge Lochte with filing a false robbery report
Lochte will be informed of the charges in the United States and would have to return to Rio to argue his defense. Under Brazil law, the charge carries a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison, according to the Associated Press.
Sept. 7, 6:22 p.m.: USOC and US Swimming suspend Lochte for 10 months and the 2017 World Championships
The suspension comes less than a month after the initial story.
Breaking: Ryan Lochte will be suspended 10 months, to 6/30/17. He also will be banned from the 2017 world swimming championships in July.— Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) September 7, 2016