Two U.S. swimmers land in Miami after Olympic Committee apology

Fri Aug 19, 2016 8:17am EDT
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By Cassandra Garrison and Caroline Stauffer

MIAMI/RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Two U.S. swimmers accused of fabricating a story about being robbed at gunpoint during the Rio Games landed in Miami from Brazil early on Friday, a Reuters witness said.

Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were moved to business class and covered themselves to avoid the media during an overnight flight, after they were jeered leaving the Rio airport.

Ryan Lochte, the most outspoken about the alleged robbery, is already in the United States and Jimmy Feigen was still in Brazil hoping to secure the release of his passport.

The incident, for which the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) apologised late on Thursday, has embarrassed the host city, angered the police and government and dominated news coverage of South America's first Olympics.

The Rio-based O Globo newspaper said a Brazilian judge had required Feigen to pay 35,000 reais ($11,000) to the Reaction Institute charity. Reuters did not independently have access to the judge's decision.

Lochte said in a statement on Sunday that a robber had put a gun to his forehead and demanded the group's wallets after going to a party after they finished competing.

His comments fuelled criticism of Games organisers after the sporting action has competed for headlines with a series of muggings and armed robberies of high-profile athletes and visitors in Rio de Janeiro, including two government ministers.

However, Brazilian police pulled Bentz and Conger off a plane on Wednesday night and took their passports, seeking clarification on the incident. Police said there was no robbery.   Continued...

U.S. Olympic swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz arrive at the Miami international airport from Rio de Janeiro a day after Brazilian police detained their passports and questioned them, in Miami August 19, 2016. REUTERS/Cassandra Garrison