American swimmer Ryan Lochte and three team-mates were robbed at gunpoint by individuals posing as police in Rio de Janeiro in the early hours of Sunday morning, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has confirmed.
“According to four members of the US Olympic swimming team (Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, Jimmy Feigen and Ryan Lochte), they left France House early Sunday morning in a taxi headed for the Olympic village," USOC spokesperson Patrick Sandusky said.
"Their taxi was stopped by individuals posing as armed police officers who demanded the athletes’ money and other personal belongings. All four athletes are safe and cooperating with authorities.”
Lochte, 32, entered two events in the Rio Games and won gold in the 4x200-metre freestyle relay. The Olympic swimming competition in Rio finished Saturday and he was reportedly at France House to celebrate a friend's birthday.
"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 told US broadcaster NBC.
“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 cell phone, he left my credentials.”
There was confusion earlier Sunday over the incident as officials denied media reports citing Lochte's mother.
"Absolutely not true," International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams told reporters during the IOC daily briefing, saying he had been in touch with USOC.
Adams was responding to first reports from Fox News and the USA Today which quoted Lochte's mother about the incident.
British long jump bronze medallist Greg Rutherford tweeted another theft later Sunday.
"The ultimate downer from this champs is having my phone stolen. Just for the pics and videos of (son) milo," he said.
Various other security incidents have reported during the Games, such as an opening ceremony security top official the target of an attempted robbery outside the Maracana, with security agents killing one of the attackers; and Portugal's education minister and two Australian rowing coaches mugged at Ipanema.