US Olympic Committee apologises for swimmers’ behaviour

Washington, Aug 19 (IANS) The US Olympic Committee (USOC) has publicly acknowledged that four of its swimmers made a false police report and created a story of being held at gunpoint and later apologised to the organisation of the Olympic Games and Brazil for the swimmers’ behaviour.

“The behaviour 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,” Efe news quoted the USOC as saying in a statement on Thursday.

Working in collaboration with the US Consulate in Rio, the USOC helped coordinating James Feigen and Ryan Lochte’s cooperation with local authorities.

The other swimmers involved in the case, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, were allowed to return to the US after being stopped earlier from boarding their plane and leaving Brazil by police. No charges were pressed against them.

“As we understand it, the four athletes (Bentz, Conger, Feigen and Lochte) left the 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,” admitted the USOC, acknowledging the Brazilian authorities story.

“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,” added the statement.

The four American swimmers allegedly made a false police report of being held at gunpoint on Sunday morning when returning to the Olympic Village.

Brazilian Police opened an investigation after swimmers said they left the party and were robbed shortly after. However, the security footage shows the swimmers arrived at the Olympic Village shortly before 7 a.m. (local time), which left an unexplained time gap.

Another video obtained from the gas station’s security cameras and several testimonies clarified what really happened.

According to the Brazilian media, at least one of the athletes has admitted that the assault was invented and has ratified the investigation of the Brazilian police.

–IANS

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