How Ryan Lochte went from victim to suspect in Rio

Will Carless – Global Post, 08/18/2016

You’ve probably heard by now about the robbery scandal in Rio de Janeiro involving the United States’ 12-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte and his swimming friends — and how Brazilian officials accuse them of lying.

 

The details are really fuzzy, but here’s a 25-second synopsis of what’s believed to have happened (if you already know the basics, skip down below the video):

Lochte and three other Team USA swimmers went out drinking in Rio on Saturday night. They left a party in the early hours of Sunday morning, and got back to the athletes’ village just before 7 a.m. Later that day, Lochte claimed that their taxi had been held up by men calling themselves police. The robbers took Lochte’s money but left his cellphone, he told NBC News. Rio police started investigating.

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Video undermines U.S. swimmers’ account of Rio robbery

Rodrigo Viga & Jeb Blount – Reuters, 08/18/2016

Brazil TV aired a video on Thursday that showed four U.S. Olympic swimmers did not tell the whole truth when they said they were robbed at gunpoint in an incident that has marred the image of South America’s first Olympic Games.

The security-camera images broadcast on Globo TV appeared to show the swimmers, including Olympic gold medallists Ryan Lochte and Jimmy Feigen, in a dispute with staff at a Rio gas station, a fact they did not mention to police in their accounts.

“The athletes lied to us about their story,” a top Rio police official told Reuters on Thursday, declining to be identified because the matter was still under investigation.

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Two U.S. Olympic swimmers prevented from leaving Brazil by authorities

Dom Phillips & Dave Sheinin – The Washington Post, 08/18/2016

Two U.S. Olympic swimmers were prevented from leaving Brazil on Wednesday night as differences emerged in their accounts of an armed robbery they said they endured last weekend.

The U.S. Olympic Committee said Wednesday evening that swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were removed from their return flight to the United States by Brazilian authorities.

Early Thursday, the USOC released a statement indicating that Conger and Bentz were no longer being detained but were not yet free to leave the country.

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The Worst Predictions About Rio Haven’t Come True. That Tells Us a Few Things About Brazil and the Media.

Alex Cuadros – The New York Magazine, 08/11/2016

If you only saw the headlines in the lead-up to the Olympics, Rio de Janeiro sounded like the lawless city from a postapocalyptic movie: “Wave of deadly gunbattles hit Rio as the Olympics get closer”; “Body parts wash ashore next to Rio Olympic venue.” Glib listicles played up the threat of political unrest, terrorist attacks, Zika-carrying mosquitoes, and “super-bacteria” in the sewage-tainted bay. One writer used the term “disastrophe” to describe the situation and claimed that so-called “‘lightning kidnappings’ are nearly as popular in Brazil as feijoada” (a delicious bean stew). Another writer topped him with this analogy: “the global event equivalent of a fire tornado touching down on a killer bee sanctuary.”

It was like the Olympics of hyperbolic Olympics scaremongering. Now that the games are on, the hysteria is already looking misplaced. This would have been clear enough to anyone who simply took a walk around the city. The last time I went, at the end of June, Rio was functioning more or less in its usual way: slightly chaotic but manageably so, albeit with fresh construction for the Olympics marring what is perhaps the world’s most beautiful urban topography. Off of Copacabana Beach, I could see locals hopping waves — which suggested that concerns over the quality of the water might be somewhat inflated, too.

It was like the Olympics of hyperbolic Olympics scare-mongering.

I should disclose here that I myself have taken part in the Rio-bashing. I moved to Brazil in 2010, back when the country seemed on the verge of becoming a world power, and watched as the Olympics became an excuse to funnel public money to rich campaign donors for not always useful projects. Still, even I have to admit that Rio has made dramatic improvements in recent years. Perhaps the most dramatic is that the homicide rate, while still appallingly high, has fallen by two-thirds since the 1990s. Even after a spike in murders this year, it’s now less than half the rate in St. Louis, Missouri. And with 85,000 soldiers and police securing Rio for the Olympics, it’s probably one of the safest places in Latin America at the moment.

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When it comes to safety of Rio Games, media hysteria was the real crime

Teddy Greenstein – The Chicago Tribune, 08/08/2016

RIO DE JANEIRO — I’m generally not one to rip the media — that would be like A-Rod slamming narcissists — but did we ever blow it in the run-up to the Rio Games.

This headline in the Telegraph, a British publication, reflects what I mean: “Why Rio Olympics is on course to be most crime-ridden games.”

The amazing part is that the story ran Thursday, before thousands of athletes managed to march during the opening ceremony without getting mugged.

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Olympics meant to showcase Brazil’s emergence, now spotlight its collapse

Andrew O’Reily – Fods News Latino, 08/02/2016

Seven years ago when Brazil’s then-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced that Rio de Janeiro would host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games on the city’s famed Copacabana beach, there was the feeling in the air that something momentous was about to happen in the South American nation.

Lula promised Brazilians that the Olympics and the 2014 World Cup would showcase the country as an emerging power on the world stage that could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of the United States, Western Europe and Russia.

For Brazil, he suggested that day in 2009, the sky was the limit.

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For Brazil’s Women, Laws Are Not Enough To Deter Rampant Violence

Lulu Garcia-Navarro – NPR, 07/24/2016

On the day she was killed, Alexsandra Moreira thought she was safe. She thought she had managed to break away and protect herself.

Her brother even escorted her to the bus station that morning to make sure she was OK on her way to work.

“When she got on the bus, my brother told her, ‘If anything happens, just call me.’ Ten minutes later, his phone rang and it was her. All he could hear was her screaming, pleading for help,” Moreira’s sister, Andreza da Silva, says.

Read More & Listen to the Recording…

 

Brazil Authorities Arrest 12th Suspect in Alleged Olympics Terror Plot

Rogerio Jelmayer and Luciana Magalhaes – The Wall Street Journal, 07/25/2016

SÃO PAULO—Brazilian authorities on Sunday arrested a 12th suspect they say was part of a group allegedly plotting to conduct terrorist attacks during the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next month.

In a brief statement, the Federal Police said late Sunday that the man was arrested in the city of Comodoro, in the central-western state of Mato Grosso. He will be questioned and later sent to a Federal prison, according to the statement.

The suspect is Leonid el Kadre de Melo, a 32-year-old mechanic, according to a person familiar with the investigation. The man was the last being sought by Brazilian authorities for allegedly planning attacks during the Olympics.

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Rio Olympics: Brazil weighs jihadi threats

CNN, 07/21/2016

Brazil’s intelligence agency said it was reviewing all threats against the Rio 2016 Games after a jihadi messaging channel called for its followers to target the Olympics.

“Many [threats] are discarded and the ones that deserve attention are investigated exhaustively,” the agency said.

Earlier this week, a jihadi channel on the messaging app Telegram called for attacks against the Games and detailed targets and methods, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

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