Ryan Lochte Escapes to America as U.S. Swimmers Pulled off Airplane in Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 12:  Ryan Lochte of the United States attends a press conference in the Main Press Center on Day 7 of the Rio Olympics on August 12, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)

Ryan Lochte Escapes to America as U.S. Swimmers Pulled off Airplane in Rio

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Ryan Lochte Escapes to America as U.S. Swimmers Pulled off Airplane in Rio

Ryan Lochte escaped to the United States, but some of his teammates on the U.S. swim team weren’t so lucky, getting pulled off an airplane by police in Rio who want to investigate their claim they were victims of a robbery, according to NBC Sports.

The swimmers pulled off the airplane were Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, who say they were with Lochte and Jimmy Fiegen when Lochte was robbed early Sunday morning. Fiegen was supposed to be on that same flight, but according to Bob Costas never showed up to the airport.

A Brazilian judge on Wednesday ordered Lochte and Fiegen’s passports to be confiscated. But by then Lochte had already made it back to the United States, according to his father, Steve Lochte.

Steve Lochte told The Associated Press by phone from his Florida home that his son called him Tuesday after arriving in the United States. The 32-year-old swimmer was going to pick up his car and buy a new wallet to replace the one that he said was stolen in the robbery.

“I’m just happy he’s safe,” the elder Lochte said. “It was an unfortunate experience for him and the other three. I don’t know what all the controversy is. They were basically taken out of the taxi and robbed. The main thing is he’s very lucky that he’s safe and that all they got was his cash and wallet.”

Fiegen, as of Wednesday night, was still in Brazil, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

The trouble seems to be that the Brazilian government doesn’t believe Ryan Lochte’s story, which he reiterated Wednesday morning on The Today Show.

“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 cellphone, he left my credentials.”

Coming back from a commercial break during NBC’s track-and-field coverage Wednesday night, Bob Costas alerted viewers to the breaking news.

We have some breaking news on the Ryan Lochte robbery story. You may have heard how it’s been evolving all day, with Brazilian authorities raising doubts about the accounts of Lochte and teammate Jimmy Fiegen, about how they were robbed at gunpoint early Sunday morning.

The authorities also ordered Lochte and Fiegen to surrender their passports and stay in the country. Well, Lochte has already gone home to the states. But, tonight, NBC News and NBC sports have learned that the other team members involved in the incident, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, were pulled off their flight home to the U.S., and Jimmy Fiegen who was supposed to be on that same flight, didn’t show up to the airport.

NBC News reporter Ann Thompson broke into NBC’s coverage a while later, reiterating that Brazil doubts Lochte’s story. A Brazilian judge Wednesday said Lochte’s and Fiegen’s stories are inconsistent, and there is surveillance video of the swimmers that apparently contradicts part of their story.

Police showed up that the Olympic village Wednesday morning looking for the swimmers, but the swimming competition is already over and the whole team was gone.

Thompson reported it is possible Lochte could be extradited back to Brazil, though not if the crime in question was classified as a misdemeanor.

Costas noted that this is a major public relations matter for Rio, where street crime has been a popular news topic during the Olympics. He and Matt Lauer then discussed the possibility Lochte and co., had fabricated the story to cover up some embarrassing behavior.

Lauer said he pointedly asked Lochte if that was the case.

He stopped me quickly, he strongly denied that, said it’s absolutely not the case. … ‘As a matter of fact, we all feel it makes us look bad.’

So there you go.

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