Olympic Swimmers Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger Land in the U.S. After Ryan Lochte's Robbery Claim Controversy
After being detained in Rio with their connection in Ryan Lochte's robbery claims, Olympic swimmers Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger are back home in the U.S.
U.S. Olympic swimmers Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger are back on American soil after a rough ride in Rio.
Both Bentz, 20, and Conger, 21, checked in for overnight flights Thursday out of Brazil, the United States Olympic Committee told PEOPLE. They arrived at Miami International Airport in the early hours of Friday morning.
It was their second time boarding departing flights from the Olympic city. The pair were pulled off a flight earlier this week and questioned by police in connection with Lochte’s debated claim that the three – along with teammate James Feigen – were robbed at gunpoint early Sunday during the Rio Olympic Games.
The robbery claim, which was made public last weekend, quickly came under scrutiny from police. Authorities later alleged that the reported robbery was actually payment for the swimmers’ alleged vandalism at a gas station.
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“They need to apologize not to the police but to the city of Rio that had its name tainted by a very untruthful story,” Rio’s Chief of Civil Police Fernando Veloso said at a Thursday news conference.
Neither Bentz nor Conger has been charged in connection with the investigation, but police have recommended charges of falsely reporting a crime against Feigen and Lochte – as both gave police interviews abouot the incident.
Lochte is already back in the U.S., having left before authorities said they were seeking him for more questioning.
Feigen has remained in Brazil, as authorities had confiscated his passport, the USOC said. On Friday, reports surfaced that he reached a deal with Brazilian authorities that would allow him to return home. A lawyer for the swimmer said Feigen will “donate” $10,800 and have his passport returned, NBC News reported.
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Lochte has stuck by his story, with some minor changes.
His attorney, Jeff Ostrow, declined to comment to PEOPLE following news of the recommended charges. But he told ABC News in a statement that “a gun was pointed at the swimmers and they were forced to get out of their cab and give up their money.”
“No matter what happened at that gas station, the swimmers were robbed by people with a gun appearing to be law enforcement,” he said. “No matter what country you are in that is robbery and robbery is a serious crime.”
• Reporting by STEVE HELLING