Where in the world is Ryan Lochte?
Brazilian authorities showed up at Olympic Village Wednesday looking to seize the passports of gold medal-winning swimmers Lochte and James Feigen. They had some questions for the pair who, along with U.S. Men's Swimming Team teammates Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, alleged they were robbed at gunpoint Sunday morning while getting out of a taxi in Rio. Unfortunately for the police, Lochte was apparently not in Brazil anymore.
"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," said Patrick Sandusky, Chief External Affairs Officer for United States Olympic Committee in a statement released Wednesday. “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.”
Multiple news outlets have reported that Lochte is back in the United States. Jeff Ostrow, Lochte's lawyer, told the Washington Post that the swimmer was back in his home country.
“Ryan left the country after his events, after fully meeting with the Brazilian authorities, the State Department, the FBI — everybody who wanted to meet with him,” Ostrow said. “He made himself available and provided the Brazil police with a statement. He wasn’t told to stay around or that [the authorities] had other questions, but we told them we were still available if they had further questions. He was planning on leaving, and he left. I don’t know what they’re trying to do down there. If they need to get in touch with me, we have always been fully cooperating. Nobody has reached out to me. Nobody has reached out to Ryan.”
Lochte is in from Rochester, New York. However, the swimmer lives and trains in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ostrow has said that he believes Lochte would be willing to return to Brazil if necessary to cooperate with authorities.
In the last 24 hours Brazilian authorities have expressed doubt about the swimmers' story of the alleged robbery Sunday night.
An Associated Press report Tuesday revealed that Brazilian authorities had discovered no evidence to back up Lochte's version of events. A video of the group returning to Olympic Village the night of the alleged incident appears to show Lochte and some of the other swimmers still in possession of some of the items they alleged to have been stolen. Police have also not been able to track down the taxi driver behind the wheel during the robbery, nor any witnesses to the crime and noted that there were inconsistencies between the four swimmers' stories.
Brazilian police say they are still treating Lochte and the others as victims and are simply seeking more information. The swimmers said they had been at a party prior to the incident and were drunk at the time of the robbery, which could explain some of the inconsistencies in their stories. Lochte has said the reason the group did not report the incident was fear of repercussions for being so far away from Olympic Village. It is not immediately clear what motive the group would have for lying about the robbery.
The incident has been the subject of much controversy in the midst of an Olympics where the threat of local street crime in Rio has been a hot button issue. The International Olympic Committee initially denied the veracity of Lochte's story before walking the accusation back.
Lochte won a gold medal in Rio in the Men's 4x200m freestyle relay.