Michael Phelps says he was “dead asleep” when his teammate Ryan Lochte says he and three other U.S. swimmers were robbed at gunpoint in Rio.
The robbery story has now unraveled, with Brazilian police saying they do not believe it and claiming that the men were drunk and possibly trying to cover up a fight at a gas station with a security guard there. See that video here.
A Brazilian police source told ABC News that “one of the swimmers was seen on CCTV footage breaking down the door to the bathroom at [a] gas station and fighting with a security guard” on the night of the incident.”
“No robbery was committed against these athletes. They were not victims of the crimes they claimed,” Veloso said during an afternoon news conference, said Chicago Tribune. However, police now say security guards at the gas station did pull guns on the swimmers when they tried to break into a bathroom. The Tribune quoted Veloso as saying security guards were justified in pulling weapons on the summers who were large and strong men who “were conducting themselves in a violent way.”
Rio federal police have recommended that Lochte and Feigen face charges of false reporting of a crime, but sources close to the swimmers insisted to ABC News that the swimmers were held up by gunman until they gave money.
But where was the Olympic great during all of this? After all, he rooms with two of the men involved.
Phelps previously said that he was “dead asleep” when Ryan Lochte and the other three American swimmers were out on the town, according to The Sporting News.
The Los Angeles Times says swimmers Jimmy Feigen and Lochte room with Phelps, in the Olympic village. Phelps said he “has visited Brazil multiple times and never felt unsafe,” said The L.A. Times. Feigen has also said the men were robbed, repeating the story to his hometown newspaper; Feigen, Lochte, Gunnar Bentz, and Jack Conger, are the swimmers who are involved in the robbery incident.
Phelps said on Aug. 14, according to The Sporting News: “I wasn’t there last night, I was with my family all night long, and that was the most important thing to me. I was dead asleep.”
When he heard the robbery story, he said: “I kind of said, ‘Excuse me?’ I couldn’t believe it,” according to The Sporting News, adding that he did not have details of the situation and was with his fiancee Nicole Johnson, and their son, Boomer, at the time. Phelps has previously been candid about how he has cleaned up his life since going to rehab.
Watch Phelps talking about where he was that night and how he feels safe in Brazil:
According to The Sporting News, Phelps stressed that “he was absolutely, positively not with the group at the France House party where they originally got into the cab in question” and that he personally felt safe in Brazil.
The Olympic great’s comments came before Brazilian police indicated they don’t believe the robbery story; Lochte had said the men were robbed at gunpoint by people dressed like police, and he insisted to NBC’s Matt Lauer that the men were, in fact, robbed. A Brazilian judge, citing inconsistencies in the stories, had ordered the passports seized of Feigen and Lochte; Brazilian police then pulled Conger and Bentz off a plane for quetsioning.
Phelps and Lochte have a famous swimming rivalry; Phelps is the most decorated Olympian ever but “Lochte is still one of the best American swimmers of all time,” said USA Today.