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U.S. Olympic swimmers suspended for fake robbery story – SportsUntapped.com
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Added September 12th, 2016 by Ian

U.S. Olympic swimmers suspended for fake robbery story
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Four American Olympic swimmers have been punished for telling the media they had been robbed at gunpoint during the recent Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Ryan Lochte, Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger were all banned by the USA Swimming and the United States Olympic Committee for varying degrees of time. The 32-year-old Lochte, who first claimed to have been robbed, received the worst punishment as he was banned for 10 months and given 20 hours worth of community service to perform. This means he will miss the both the 2017 world and national a swimming championships.

Bentz, Conger and Feigen were suspended from swimming competitively for four months each while Bentz was also handed 10 hours of community service as he violated U.S. Swimming’s Olympic curfew for its athletes who were under the age of 21. During their bans, the four swimmers won’t be able to use any American Olympic training centres and they won’t receive any financial aid. Scott Blackmun, the CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee told the media in a statement, “As we have said previously, the behavior of these athletes was not acceptable. It unfairly maligned our hosts and diverted attention away from the historic achievements of Team USA. Each of the athletes has accepted responsibility for his actions and accepted the appropriate sanctions.”

Lochte originally claimed the swimmers were held up at gunpoint while taking a taxi back to the Olympic village following a party. The highly-publicized news story broke across the world, but later reports stated the Americans stopped at a gas station and caused damage to the restrooms. A CCTV video supported this claim as the quartet was caught on camera as the service centre. Lochte then apologized for over exaggerating his version of events. The swimmer, who has won a dozen Olympic medals during his career, was then forced to recant the story when Brazilian police released a video from the service station. The police claimed the athletes vandalized the bathroom and armed security guards then asked them to pay for the damage.

The Brazilian authorities then asked the swimmers to hand over their passports while investigating the incident, but Lochte had already returned to the U.S. by then. The native of North Carolina then said he had a lot to drink that night and now realizes it was an armed guard who drew the gun and was asking for money to cover the damage to the bathroom, not robbing them. Brazilian authorities wanted t charge Feigen and Lochte with reporting a false incident and the 26-year-old Feigen ended up donating $11,000 to a charity in Brazil if the matter was dropped. He was given his passport back and allowed to return to America after donating the money.

Conger and Bentz, who are both now 21, gave statements to Brazilian police and said the armed guards confronted them after Lochte tore a sign from a wall at the service centre. All of the swimmers released statements apologizing for the incident after they returned home, but Lochte soon found that several of his sponsors were dropping him as a spokesperson. USA Swimming and the United States Olympic Committee then felt more punishment was deserved and decided to hand down the suspensions.

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