In a not-so-classic case of he said "jeah," she said "jeah," American Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte has been accused of lying about being robbed at gunpoint while in Rio de Janeiro this past weekend. Developments in the case are coming faster than his backstroke, and nobody really knows what's happening.
The only things we can really rely on in these times are facts and Simone Biles. Here's an as-complete-as-we-can-make-it timeline of LochteGate:
Late night on Aug. 13: Lochte goes to a party with his friends at Club France, which is located in a nice area of Rio, according to Sports Illustrated. He Snapchats it. He leaves the club "between 2:30 a.m. and 3 a.m.," a spokesman for the venue later told the Washington Post.
Aug. 14, about 9:30 a.m. EDT: An Australian sports reporter tweets that Lochte was "held up at gunpoint at a party in Brazil" along with three teammates. Within an hour, the International Olympic Committee has debunked the report, according to SB Nation.
Aug. 14, about 11:30 a.m. EDT: USA Today publishes an article quoting Lochte's mom corroborating his story. "I think they’re all shaken up. There were a few of them," Ileana Lochte told the news outlet. "No, they were just, they just took their wallets and basically that was it."
Aug. 14, about 1 p.m. EDT: The United States Olympic Committee releases a statement. "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," spokesman Patrick Sandusky said. "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."
At about the same time, NBC News releases an interview with Lochte where he gives details about the incident.
"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," the swimmer told host Billy Bush. "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."
He continues: "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."
Lochte becomes an internet legend for being "like 'whatever'" while being robbed.
Aug. 14, about 6 p.m. EDT: Lochte tweets that "it is true that my teammates and I were the victims of a robbery early Sunday morning" but "what is most important is that we are safe and unharmed."
Globo reports that the civil police are trying to find the taxi driver for questioning. The story notes that one unnamed victim of the alleged crime said "having drunk at the party, he did not remember details of the car or where the theft would have taken place."
Aug. 15: Rio spokesman Mario Andrada tells the Associated Press he regrets "that violence is still an issue at these games."
Meanwhile, various details about the incident come out in the press: that Lochte lost about $300 but kept his phone, which Época notes is contrary to how criminals in the area usually operate. Robbers often take victims' phones so they can't contact the police.
Tuesday: Lochte tells USA Today that he and his colleagues didn't alert the USOC right away after the robbery because "we were afraid we'd get in trouble." His lawyer, Jeff Ostrow, explains to the newspaper that "Ryan didn't want this to turn into what it did."
That day, the Daily Mail publishes an exclusive clip of security camera footage showing the group heading back into the Village at about 7 a.m. This sheds doubt on their timeline, as 7 a.m. is much later than they initially said they'd been robbed.
Tuesday night, at about 7 p.m. EDT: Lochte tweets that he's dyeing his hair back to his normal color.
Wednesday morning, at about 11 a.m. EDT: Globo reports that a judge in Rio has ordered the seizure of Lochte and Feigen's passports due to contradictions in the timeline. Soon after, the USOC releases a statement:
"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."
The New York Times reports that Lochte "has already returned to the United States."
Wednesday night, at about 8 p.m. EDT: The "TODAY Show" tweets that Matt Lauer "has just spoken" with Lochte.
Wednesday night, at about 9:30 p.m. EDT: The AP sends out a breaking news alert that the USOC has said Conger and Bentz were taken off their homebound flight.
Wednesday night, at about 10 p.m. EDT: Lauer tells host Bob Costas about his Lochte interview, saying that he "softened" a few of the facts. "Lochte initially said the robbers, posing as police, pulled the taxi over, but he told Lauer that the taxi had stopped at a gas station so the swimmers could use the bathroom," NBC later writes. He added that the gun wasn't pointed at his head. Everything is labeled a "traumatic mischaracterization."
Lochte retweets some of his supporters.
Thursday morning, at about 1 a.m. EDT: The USOC confirms the two swimmers were detained. "They were released by local authorities with the understanding that they would continue their discussions about the incident on Thursday," it writes in a statement. "James Feigen is also communicating with local authorities and intends to make further statements regarding the incident on Thursday as well."
Thursday morning, at about 10 a.m. EDT: ABC News posts a story citing an anonymous source alleging that "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."
Thursday morning, at about 10:30 a.m. EDT: The USOC releases a statement saying all three swimmers still in Brazil — so, not Lochte — "are cooperating with authorities and in the process of scheduling a time and place today to provide further statements to the Brazilian authorities."
Thursday morning, at about 11 a.m. EDT: Reuters, citing an anonymous security source, tweets that the swimmers "caused damage" at the gas station and then handed over cash for repairs.
Soon after, Globo reports that the swimmers damaged the bathroom and acted aggressive when confronted. That's when security took out their weapons to stop them from leaving.
Thursday, at about noon: Globo obtains video of the gas station incident and posts it online. Police chief Fernando Veloso tells the outlet "the only truth they told is that they were drunk."
Thursday, at about 12:30 p.m. EDT: SportsCenter tweets that the other swimmers have admitted to investigators that Lochte made up the robbery.
Thursday, at about 3 p.m. EDT: Police in Brazil give a news conference where they flatly tell reporters the swimmers were "not victims of the crimes they claimed," according to the AP. Veloso suggests Lochte is behind the lies about the incident.
"The surveillance tapes show that there was no violence against the athletes at the gas station," Veloso says. "Their claim that they are a victim of an assault or robbery or any kind of violence is not true."
Andrada doesn't seem to care much. "Let’s give these kids a break. Sometimes you take actions that you later regret," he tells reporters.
Thursday, at about 9 p.m. EDT: The USOC says Bentz and Conger gave their testimonies to police, got their passports and are headed back to the U.S. Feigen is revising his initial account and hoping to get back home soon.
The statement continues: "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."
Friday, at about 5 a.m. EDT: The AP reports Feigen will donate $11,000 to a Brazilian charity and then be allowed to leave the country.
Friday, at about 10 a.m. EDT: Lochte issues a statement on Twitter apologizing for his "behavior" and "for not being more careful and candid" in how he detailed the gas station incident.
Saturday night: Lochte does a sit-down interview with Lauer and confesses that he "over-exaggerated that story." He admitted the gun he said was used in the confrontation wasn't pointed at his head. Lochte said he was drunk when he initially gave the "Today Show" an interview but couldn't say why he invented the detail, NBC reported.
"Whether you call it a robbery, whether you call it extortion, or us paying just for the damages, like, we don't know," he said. "All we know is that there was a gun pointed in our direction, and we were demanded to give money."
Monday morning, at about 11 a.m. EDT: Speedo drops its sponsorhip with Lochte and announces that it's going to donate $50,000 to a Brazilian children's charity.
Monday morning, at about 1 p.m. EDT: Ralph Lauren announces that it doesn't plan to renew Lochte's sponsorship contract, either.