The controversy over claims by United States swimmers, including 12-time Olympic medallist Ryan Lochte, that they were robbed at gunpoint has taken a fresh twist after Brazilian police alleged the story was a fabrication.
The United States Olympic Committee indicated on Sunday that Lochte and team-mates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen had been attacked in the early hours of that morning after leaving a party.
Lochte, who has since returned to the US, had said the quartet were travelling back to the Olympic Village in a taxi when armed men with police badges pulled them over and demanded their wallets.
But officers in Rio have publicly questioned that version of events and CCTV footage emerged of the four men returning to the Olympic Village, seemingly in jovial mood.
A police official said the swimmers had in fact stopped at a petrol station where a toilet door was vandalised and that discussions ensued during which representatives of the petrol station attempted to gain recompense for the damage. A payment is said to have been made.
“No robbery was committed against these athletes,” said civil police spokesman Fernando Veloso. “They were not victims of the crimes they claimed. In theory one or more of them might be charged with false reporting of a crime or damage of a gas station.”