NBC, the IOC, and Brazil would like you to forget about the green pools, kayaks crashing into submerged couches, and media buses peppered with bullet holes. Please, just focus on Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, and…. wait- don’t focus on Ryan Lochte. According to Lochte, he and some fellow swimmers were coming back from da club sometime around 3 am on a Sunday morning:
“We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over,” Lochte said. “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.”
Some might be quick to add this to the pile of problems building up around the Rio Olympics. But let’s be honest here, for a second. Can we? Lochte and his three swimmer bros were off the Olympic Village campus at 3am. They likely ignored any and all briefings that advised against getting in a taxi late at night and driving around the city streets. Right or wrong, they were four Americans probably hammered off their ass in the back of a taxi. And they made themselves an easy target.
Now, Rio has received a bad rap for their inability to provide a safe atmosphere for Olympians, most notably those involved in outdoor water sports. But there’s no way they should take 100% of the blame here. No country in the world can guarantee the safety of four inebriated individuals packed into a cab at 3 am, meandering the streets in search of the next after-party.
However, that’s not to say that Lochte and his American teammates shouldn’t be able to let loose and not get robbed at gunpoint. The brutal truth exists that there are enterprising criminals who will always prey on the lost, drunk, and vulnerable. For his part, Lochte seems to have made an effort to keep the story out of the limelight (he did an obligatory interview about the situation on the beach), and was quick to praise the 2016 Olympics, in general.
Luckily for the aforementioned organizations, Usain Bolt appeared in the nick of time and saved the Olympics. But for those of us whose attention span lasts longer than 9.8 seconds, let’s view this robbery as a cautionary tale, and remember to stay a little extra vigilant during your travels at home or abroad.
Image Courtesy: NBC