Image Credit: ESPNI
Ryan Lochte is serious when he’s in the pool. Outside of it? Not so much. So it comes as no surprise that even in likely the most dangerous situation he’s faced in his life, the inventor of “Jeah!” faced it with a shrug and a “whatever” — literally.
Lochte and three other American swimmers were held at gunpoint early Sunday morning in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They were pulled over in a taxi by men posing as police offers who brandished badges, weapons and nothing more. Here’s what happened from there, via NBC quoting Lochte.
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.
Read that again: “I was like, ‘Whatever.'”
What made the situation Sunday even stranger was the International Olympic Committee initially denied the incident took place despite Lochte’s mother, Ileana, telling USA Today and Fox Sports Australia what her son told her in a phone conversation.
With the situation behind him, Lochte released the following statement on social media.
Lochte won his 12th career medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics on Tuesday, bringing home gold alongside fellow former Florida Gators swimmer Conor Dwyer for the United States in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay.
He missed an opportunity at a solo medal in his signature event, the 200-meter individual medley, but currently stands as the second-most successful American swimmer behind Michael Phelps with six golds, three silvers and three bronzes over the last four Summer Games.
Lochte has pledged to swim again at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — “I’ll be back,” he said — but whether he’ll be able to qualify for the team at age 36 certainly remains to be seen.