Though Texas Longhorns senior Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen were members of gold medal U.S. swim teams, they are unfortunately now making waves outside of the pool for the wrong reasons.
Ryan Lochte made headlines when he claimed that he, Conger, Feigen, and Gunnar Bentz were all robbed at gun point on the night of August 13th. Lochte said that several guns were drawn at the U.S. swim team members after men posing as police officers pulled over their taxi and demanded the swimmers’ wallets.
The high-profile Olympian had initially told his mother about the incident, and she then alerted reporters. From there, the account burgeoned into one of the biggest stories of Rio.
“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,” Lochte recounted.
“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.'
The 12-time Olympic medalist stated that the robbers did not take the swimmers’ credentials or cell phones.
Lochte largely stuck with his narrative amidst controversy boiling that there may have been discrepancies in the athletes’ stories. However, a Brazilian judge ruled that evidence of fabrication warranted the swimmers to be detained for questioning in Rio. For example, Lochte had stated their were multiple guns drawn, while Feigen only said one man held them at gunpoint. And security footage did show the athletes joking around and laughing while entering the Olympic village merely hours after stating their lives were in serious danger.
Lochte had already returned to American by the time of the ruling, as scheduled. But Conger and Bentz were pulled from their flights home, and though Feigen wasn’t found at the airport, the former Longhorn is also still in Brazil.
"I’m just trying to give Brazil what they need or what they want and get out of here,'' Feigen told USA TODAY Sports Thursday morning. "It’s a hassle. But I’m safe, everything’s fine.''
Rio police are now claiming that the four swimmers were vandals, not victims. Fernando Veloso, chief of civil police in Rio said Thursday that Lochte was "very angry because he was intoxicated.” Veloso said that the four swimmers were confronted by a security guard with a gun after they drunkenly tried to vandalize a gas station, breaking a bathroom door.
Even if the four Olympians are guilty of lying to police, they will likely not face criminal charges. In the middle of hosting a controversial Olympians frequently deemed as unsafe, Brazil most likely wants to get the story straight as a PR move to demonstrate that perhaps the athletes weren’t in as much danger as they claimed. Brazilian police have called for an apology to the citizens of Rio from the four swimmers.
Brazilian police have reported that Conger and Bentz confirmed that Lochte’s robbery story was fabricated, according to the Associated Press and multiple other sources.
Conger has been part of three NCAA championship events for Texas and won an overall national championship with the school last season. He took gold in the 4x200 meter freestyle relay in Rio.
Feigen graduated from Texas in 2012 as a 50, 100, and 200 meter freestyle NCAA champion. The San Antonio native claimed a silver medal in the 2012 Olympics for the 4x100 meter freestyle and placed gold in the event in 2016.