Rio police take American duo off plane, Lochte thought to be in USA

American swimmers Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger were taken off a plane at Rio airport as local police investigate Sunday’s alleged robbery involving them and two team-mates.

Bentz and Conger, who both won gold medals in the 4×200 metres freestyle relay, claimed their taxi returning to the athletes’ village, which also had James Feigen and Ryan Lochte in it, was stopped by men posing as armed police who robbed them.

But that story appears to be starting to unravel, as CCTV footage has emerged in the Brazilian media of Feigen and Lochte returning to the village much later than they claimed, and Lochte’s wallet, which was supposed to have been stolen, passing through the security check. Rio police have also been unable to find the driver of their taxi.

Patrick Sandusky, a United States Olympic Committee spokesman, said: “We can confirm that Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were removed from their flight to the United States by Brazilian authorities. We are gathering further information.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Rio police tried to stop Feigen and Lochte from leaving Brazil in order to question them further about the disputed robbery.

Sandusky said local police came to the athletes’ village on Wednesday morning to meet the pair and seize their passports but said “we were not able to make the athletes available” as the swimming team moved out of the village when their competition ended last weekend.

Various American media outlets have reported that Lochte is back in the US, but the USA Today has said Feigen is still in Rio and is assisting the police in their inquiries.

These new developments are just the latest in a bizarre story that began when reports emerged the morning after Lochte’s last swim in Rio that he had been robbed at gunpoint. This was initially denied by USOC, despite Lochte’s mother telling American media that she had heard it directly from her son.

The story changed later on Sunday when Lochte told US TV that he, Bentz, Conger and Feigen were travelling back to the athletes’ village from a party when their taxi was stopped and they were robbed.

The 26-year-old Feigen won a gold medal in the men’s 4×100 metres freestyle relay, while Lochte, 32, won his 12th Olympic medal, and sixth gold, in the 4x200m relay.

Press Association Sport