Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz Detained at Rio Airport; Ryan Lochte Speaks Out

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Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

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U.S. Olympian swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were both stopped from boarding their flight out of Rio Wednesday night. The pair, along with Ryan Lochte and Jimmy Feigen, were allegedly victims of an armed robbery early Sunday morning in Rio. NBC’s Peter Alexander broke the news, and it was later confirmed by USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky.

Yahoo! Sports reported that the two had cleared passport control at the airport and were headed to board their flight when they were stopped.

Al Jazeera English’s Gabriel Elizondo reports that Conger and Bentz will likely have their passports seized, but they will not be forced to spend the night in jail.

Lochte and Feigen were the only two whose passports that Brazilian judge Keyla Blank ordered seized, but Lochte had reportedly already left Brazil, according to Alexander.

Lochte confirmed to NBC’s Matt Lauer that he got home today, but before leaving he met with Brazilian authorities in what he called a “casual meeting.” According to Lauer, Lochte informed authorities that he would be available for contact via his agent or lawyer if he was needed to comment further.

In speaking to Lauer, Lochte did change two elements of his original description of the robbery. First, he admitted that the cab the four swimmers were riding in stopped at a gas station so they could go to the bathroom when they were approached by robbers. Previously, Lochte had claimed the cab was pulled over.

He also claimed that the robber pointed a gun in his general direction, not pressed against his head. Lauer said of the inconsistency, “he feels it was more a traumatic mischaracterization.”

Feigen is reportedly still in Rio. NBC’s Gadi Schwartz reported that Feigen checked in online for the flight but did not show up at the airport, knowing that his passport would be seized. The USOC has refused to confirm Feigen’s whereabouts.

“I’m just trying to give Brazil what they need or what they want and get out of here,” Feigen said Wednesday to USA TODAY Sports’ Christine Brennan. “It’s a hassle. But I’m safe, everything’s fine.”

UPDATE: Reuters reported that Feigen was taken in for questioning as well and is currently being questioned with Bentz and Conger and that none of the three men are facing charges. No other outlets have confirmed that report.

UPDATE 8/18: The USOC released a statement on the situation early Thursday morning, and Brennan reports that Conger, Bentz and Feigen are all expected to be questioned today.

1 comment

  1. avatar
    Jerry

    what a disgrace to US Swimming. It’s one thing to vandalize, but another to wake up the next morning and fabricate a lie that people with badges put a gun to your head and embarrass the whole Team USA. Ryan Lochte is a disgrace to the team