New Delhi: Brazil, the host of the Rio Olympics 2016, attracted untoward attention when United States swimmers alleged that they were robbed at gunpoint by unidentified men in Rio de Janeiro.
US swimmers Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger were the last swimmers to return home as they were stopped by the Brazilian authorities for further questioning on the incident. However, their testimonies were full of complexities the authorities could not confirm as true. And ultimately, the duo testified to fabricating a story of robbery.
But the repercussions have created a rippling effect on social media, with many criticising the four Olympic swimmers who had testified that they were robbed by men dressed in police uniform.
Why a false testimony?
Athletes are known not only for their hard work, but also what they do after the hard work is done. Partying in Brazil, the swimmers had vandalised a gas station after the group stopped there to use the bathroom during a ride back to the Olympic Village. The swimmers were apparently drunk and vandalised some of the amenities inside the gas station. In a bid to throw a negative light upon the country, the swimmers might then have invented the story.
"An argument ensued between the athletes and two armed gas station security staff, who displayed their weapons, ordered the athletes from their vehicle and demanded the athletes provide a monetary payment," said the US Olympic Committee (USOC) in its statement.
"We apologise to our hosts in Rio and the people of Brazil for this distracting ordeal in the midst of what should rightly be a celebration of excellence," USOC chief Scott Blackmun said.
The USA Swimming said it could take possible action against the swimmers. Apart from the two, the remaining two swimmers are gold medallist Ryan Lochte and Jimmy Feigen.