Police seek taxi driver after U.S. swimmer Lochte robbed in Rio

Mon Aug 15, 2016 4:06pm EDT
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By Daniel Flynn

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilian police searched on Monday for the driver of a taxi in which U.S. gold medalist swimmer Ryan Lochte and three team mates were robbed at gunpoint, as authorities stepped up security in Rio de Janeiro after a spate of incidents.

The swimmers were returning to the Athletes' Village in the early hours of Sunday after a party hosted by the French Games delegation when armed men carrying police badges pulled them over. The gunmen ordered them to drop to the ground and demanded their wallets and belongings, Lochte said.

When he refused, one of the men cocked a pistol and placed it against the swimmer's head. He then handed over his wallet.

"We apologize to those involved and once again we regret the fact that violence is an issue in these Games," said Mario Andrada, a spokesman for the Rio 2016 organizing committee.

"We have requested that authorities make sure that people are safe everywhere in the city."

There was initially confusion over the incident.

International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams told a news conference that the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) had denied the robbery took place. However, the USOC swiftly did an about-turn and confirmed it took place.

Organizers suggested it had been difficult to confirm the information early on Sunday because the swimmers were still asleep after the ordeal.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Swimming - Final - Men's 200m Individual Medley Final - Olympic Aquatics Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 11/08/2016. Ryan Lochte (USA) of USA reacts. REUTERS/David Gray