The story about U.S. Olympic swimmers Ryan Lochte, Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen being robbed at gunpoint on Aug. 13 or 14 in Rio de Janeiro has been changing over the past few days (video below).
Lochte originally told TODAY show co-host Billy Bush on Aug. 14 that he was in a cab with some other swimmers, and the vehicle was pulled over by armed robbers posing as cops. Lochte recalled the robbers told them to get down on the ground, but Lochte refused to do so and subsequently had a gun pointed at his forehead. The Olympian said that the robbers took all their money, his wallet, but not his cell phone or credentials.
According to The New York Times on Aug. 18, an unidentified law enforcement official said that two armed security guards pointed their guns at the swimmers at a gas station during a confrontation over some alleged vandalism by the Olympians.
Earlier the same day, an unidentified Brazil police official asserted that Lochte fabricated the robbery story.
The police official said the swimmers stopped at the gas station and broke down the locked bathroom door.
An armed security guard confronted the swimmers, the police official recounted, but did not point a gun at them.
According to the police official, the gas station manager demanded the swimmers pay for the damage, so the athletes gave him an unknown amount of money and left the scene.
After Conger and Bentz were pulled off a plane by Brazilian police on Aug. 17, the two reportedly told law enforcement that the robbery story was fake. They were released from custody on Aug. 18; police were not able to detain Lochte, who already flown back to the U.S.
Feigen's whereabouts are unknown, but he did not make his scheduled plane back to the U.S., according to NBC News reporter Gadi Schwartz.
The Times reports that Lochte’s lawyer and agent have not responded to questions by the news wire, but Lochte's father, Steve, said via phone from Florida: "I’m just happy he’s safe. It was an unfortunate experience for him and the other three."
However, the "unfortunate experience" is not over for Conger and Bentz.
USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said on Aug. 18 that Conger and Bentz are setting up a time to meet with officials, and that the two athletes "are represented by counsel and being appropriately supported by the USOC and the US Consulate in Rio."
NBC News' Matt Lauer said on Aug. 17 that he had a phone conversation with Lochte, who did not disclose his location in the U.S., insisted that he cooperated with the investigation in Rio, and also denied fabricating the robbery story.
Lauer said that Lochte did change some details such as the robbery taking place after the cab stopped at the gas station for a bathroom break and how the athletes got back in the cab, which was then approached by the badge-wearing robbers.
According to Lauer, the swimmer also changed his story to the gun being pointed in his direction instead of his forehead, which Lauer felt was a traumatic mischaracterization.
Billy Bush Interview With Ryan Lochte