The United States Olympic Committee said it does not plan to change its security plan for athletes in Rio de Janeiro after decorated swimmer Ryan Lochte and three teammates were robbed at gunpoint yesterday by thieves posing as police officers.
Lochte and teammates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen were returning to the athletes’ Olympic Village by taxi after a night out at the French Olympic team’s hospitality house when they were stopped by individuals posing as armed police officers.
One of the fake officers put a cocked gun to Lochte’s forehead and took his money and wallet, the swimmer told NBC’s “Today” show. USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said all four athletes “are safe and cooperating with authorities.”
Asked if the incident will prompt changes to security plans, Sandusky replied, “Our security plan remains in place.”
In a message posted on Instagram, Lochte, a 12-time Olympic medalist, wrote, “While it is true that my teammates and I were the victims of a robbery early Sunday morning, what is most important is that we are safe and unharmed.”
Brazil’s sports minister, Leonardo Picciani, said that the American swimmers were “outside their places of competition and outside the appropriate time.”
Violence is just one of many things Olympic athletes have had to worry about in these games, with concerns about the Zika virus and contaminated water. Massachusetts-based Olympians in Rio either declined to comment or could not be reached yesterday on the Lochte situation.
Street crime was a major concern of Olympic organizers going into the games. Brazil deployed 85,000 soldiers and police to secure the games, twice as many as Britain used during the 2012 London Olympics.
Last week, a Brazilian security officer was fatally shot after taking a wrong turn into a dangerous slum. Two Australian rowing coaches were attacked and robbed by two assailants in Ipanema, and Portugal’s education minister was held up at knifepoint on a busy street.
In addition, stray bullets have twice landed in the equestrian venue, and two windows were shattered on a bus carrying journalists in an attack that Rio organizers blamed on rocks and others claimed was gunfire.
Herald wire services contributed to this report.
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