RIO DE JANEIRO — The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has set up a disciplinary commission for United States swimmer Ryan Lochte and his three teammates after they were found to have lied about an armed robbery during the Rio Olympics, an IOC official said Friday.
The commission will investigate the affair and could sanction the athletes if they considered their behavior violated the Olympic charter in some way.
The 32-year-old Lochte, one of America’s most decorated swimmers, had originally said that he, Jimmy Feigen and two other teammates, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, were stopped in a taxi on the way back from a party by gunmen posing as police who stole $400 from them.
The story turned out not to be true and Lochte apologized earlier Friday.
The US Olympic Committee (USOC) denied a CNN report that Lochte would be suspended by USA Swimming and USOC for allegedly lying about being held up at gunpoint on their way back to the athletes’ village following a night out in Rio.
“It’s absolutely not true,” USOC spokesman Mark Jones said of the report, which was based on unnamed sources.
Police said that instead of being robbed, one of the swimmers had vandalized a petrol station after the group stopped the taxi there to use a bathroom.
The swimmers started an argument with staff at the station, who demanded payment for the damage, police added.
Lochte issued an apology Friday and Feigen agreed to pay 35,000 reais ($11,000) to a charity.
The story has been a major source of embarrassment for the US Olympic team which itself apologized to organizers for the swimmers’ behavior.
Lochte, who flew to the United States the day after Sunday’s incident, said he should have been more careful and candid in his account but said it had been traumatic to have a man point a gun at him in a foreign country and demand money.
Russia stripped of Beijing 2008 4x400m women’s silver medal
Russia has been stripped of the 4x400m women’s relay silver medal from the Beijing Olympics after Anastasia Kapachinskaya tested positive for a steroid in a re-test of her sample, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Friday.
“Re-analysis of Kapachinskaya’s samples from Beijing 2008 resulted in a positive test for the prohibited substances stanozolol and dehydrochlormethyltestosterone (turinabol),” the IOC said.
Jamaica was third and Belarus finished in fourth place in the Beijing race.
“The IAAF (international athletics federation) is requested to modify the results of the above-mentioned events accordingly and to consider any further action within its own competence,” the IOC said.
Kapachinskaya was also disqualified from her 400m run where she had placed fifth.
Her Russian teammates Alexander Pogorelov, who was fourth in the decathlon, and shotputter Ivan Yushkov also had their Beijing Games results cancelled out after testing positive for the same substance. Yushkov was 10th in his event eight years ago.
Earlier this week Russia were ordered to return its gold medals from the 4x100m women’s relay from the same Games after Yulia Chermoshanskaya also tested positive in a re-test.
Aussie athletes to pay fine
Several Australian Olympic athletes were released by Brazilian police Saturday after agreeing to pay a fine for entering the basketball arena to watch a semifinal game between Australia and Serbia without proper accreditation, a team official said.
Fiona de Jong, chief executive of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), told reporters outside the police station where the athletes were taken for questioning late Friday that they had entered the arena without the correct accreditation by “mistake.”
“We have agreed on an outcome which is the payment of a fine and good behavior bond for each of the athletes involved,” Jong said.
Officials for the International Olympic Committee and the Rio 2016 organising committee were not available for comment.
IOC: Kuwait ‘aggravating’ tensions
The International Olympic Committee Friday accused Kuwait’s government of “aggravating” the tensions that led to the country’s ban from the Rio Olympics.
New and proposed laws on state controls over sporting bodies have led the IOC and world football body FIFA to suspend Kuwait since last October.
The Kuwait government has in turn condemned the IOC and recently sought $1 billion in damages in a Swiss court, which was rejected.
The IOC said in a letter to the Kuwait government that a new law passed in June tightens state control over sports bodies, rather than loosening it.
The letter said that “contrary to what has been suggested in a number of public statements… (the law) increases significantly the power of the government authorities to interfere with the internal operations” of sports organisations.
Kuwait has since offered a new law, but the IOC rejected the draft.