Update: Both Reuters and NBC confirm that Lochte was indeed robbed in a taxi hold-up in Rio de Janeiro after leaving a party where he had been celebrating the end of the Olympic swimming program, he told fellow competitor Thiago Pereira. As NBC adds, U.S. Olympic swimmers Ryan Lochte, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen were robbed at gunpoint while in Rio de Janeiro overnight Saturday..
Following conflicting reports — including the IOC denying any incident took place — Lochte himself confirmed with TODAY's Billy Bush that he and the other swimmers were robbed at gunpoint. "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 said. "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."
USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky later told NBC News in a statement: "According to four members of the U.S. 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. 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."
Police officials told NBC News they weren't contacted about the incident but they were available to help the athletes if necessary.
Lochte's mom had earlier told other news organizations that the robbery happened at a party.
"I think they're all shaken up. There were a few of them," Ileana Lochte told USA Today. "No, they were just, they just took their wallets and basically that was it."
* * *
While many had previously warned that the Brazil olympcs could be a dangerous place for visitors, it now appears they are just as unsafe for Olympic participants. According to Fox Sports' Ben Way, US swimmer Ryan Lochte, who won gold in the men’s 4x200m swimming event, was held at gunpoint while attending a party in Rio de Janeiro. Lochte had been reportedly attending a party on the invite of Brazilian Thiago Pereira when the incident occurred.
It has been reported that he is now safe at the Team USA swimming base.
After the incident, he called his mother, who has gone to meet him. Team USA Jenn Suhr said, “It definitely would have been terrifying. I’m just glad everyone is safe and alright. When you’re in another country you don’t know of, it’s not the smartest idea to go places you’re unsure of.”
Lochte called his mother Ileana immediately afterwards. She told @FOXSportsNews it was "terrifying" and has just left her hotel to meet him.— Ben Way (@BenWayFOX) August 14, 2016
LOCHTE: @TeamUSA 's Jenn Suhr: "when you're in another country you don't know of, it's not the smartest idea to go places you're unsure of.— Ben Way (@BenWayFOX) August 14, 2016
And while AP confirmed the original report...
BREAKING: Swimmer Ryan Lochte's mother tells Fox Sports he was robbed at gunpoint; Rio organizers aware of unspecified 'issue'— The Associated Press (@AP) August 14, 2016
... moments later it appears that someone got a tap on the shoulder - after all the last thing the Rio Olympics needs is even more bad publicity - and AP followed up with an update that "the report that swimmer Lochte robbed at gunpoint 'absolutely not true,' according to Lochte and USOC."
BREAKING: IOC spokesman: Report that swimmer Lochte robbed at gunpoint 'absolutely not true,' according to Lochte and USOC.— The Associated Press (@AP) August 14, 2016
Finally, the Fox Sports reporter is sticking by his story:
For those asking...— Ben Way (@BenWayFOX) August 14, 2016
All I can tell you is what Ryan's mother told me. And others, it would seem. I believe her 100% https://t.co/y5RxakZtVF
One wonders who is lying here - Lochte's mother or the IOC... and why.