Ryan Lochte's Charges Stemming from 2016 Rio Olympics Incident Dismissed by Judge

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJuly 8, 2021

Ryan Lochte checks his time after competing in a men's 200-meter individual medley semifinal heat during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

A judge has dismissed charges against American competitive swimmer Ryan Lochte alleging that he filed a false police report while in Rio De Janiero during the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Lochte's lawyer and agent, Jeff Ostrow, told Josh Peter of USA Today that the statute of limitations expired and a judge ruled that Rio prosecutors could not prove their case against the 36-year-old.

“As we always suspected, they can’t win their case and the judge finally dismissed it,’’ Ostrow told Peter. “We are not going to Rio to celebrate, I assure you.’’

Lochte said in 2016 that he and three other Team USA swimmers had been robbed at gunpoint at a Rio gas station during the Summer Olympics. However, that claim turned out to be fabricated.

He was charged with filing a false police report, but Ostrow said that one was never officially filed:

“You can’t falsify a report if you don’t report it. And Ryan never reported this to anyone. It was his mother who told some other reporter she didn’t even know she was talking to that Ryan had been held at gunpoint, and that’s what started this whole thing.
“The Brazilian police came to us and Ryan and wanted a statement, which we voluntarily gave right away and reported our side of what happened. And they then took from there as a save-face for the black eye that that country had been experiencing by having such a dangerous venue at the Olympics and said that Ryan and the boys trashed a gas station.’’

Brazilian police stated that Lochte and three other swimmers—Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen—had vandalized a gas station, which prompted armed security guards to confront them about the alleged incident.

Lochte initially told Matt Lauer of NBC that a guard drew a gun at his forehead and that the swimmers were demanded to provide money (h/t Jennifer Konerman of the Hollywood Reporter).

But the claim that a gun was drawn at Lochte's forehead turned out to be false.

“I did lie about that one part, and I take full responsibility,” Lochte said on Good Morning America (h/t Katie Kindelan of ABC News). “I’m human. I made a mistake, a very big mistake, and it’s something that I learned from. And I know that that will never happen again.”

Lochte did say a gun was drawn for unknown reasons, though.

“Whether you call it a robbery, whether you call it extortion or us paying just for the damages—we don’t know," Lochte told Lauer. "All we know is, there was a gun pointed in our direction, and we were demanded to give money."

Lochte did admit to vandalizing a poster. The swimmers also said they urinated in bushes behind the building.

Per Taylor Barnes of USA Today, Rio police claimed that the swimmers broke a mirror and soap dispenser too. Lochte denied that claim, however.

In Sept. 2016, the United States Olympic Committee suspended Lochte for 10 months as a result of the incident. The other three swimmers were suspended four months each.