RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, Aug 15 – Rio Olympics organisers apologised to US swimmer Ryan Lochte on Monday after he was robbed at gunpoint in a major embarrassment for the tournament.
Security authorities have been contacted over the incident where Lochte and three team-mates were held up by criminals posing as police, the Games’ spokesman said.
Lochte had a gun put to his forehead in the robbery, when the swimmers’ taxi was pulled over by criminals who forced them to lie on the ground and stole money and other items.
“We obviously regret that the violence has got so close to athletes,” Mario Andrada said. “We have requested the security authorities that they need to make sure that everybody is safe everywhere in the city.
“We apologise to those involved and once again, we regret the fact that violence is an issue at these Games.”
Andrada added that police were still looking for the driver of the swimmers’ cab, which was pulled over as they left a post-competition party.
“The police are looking for the cab driver who drove them back, who seemed to have more information about this,” Andrada said.
Security has been a major concern at the Rio Olympics, with several thefts and robberies reported and a number of controlled explosions of suspicious bags.
Two stray bullets hit the equestrian venue and a media bus had windows shattered, causing light injuries, in an attack which was blamed on stone-throwing youths.
Lochte told NBC news: “We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights… and they pulled us over.
“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.”