The Rio Robbery That Wasn’t

From 8-18-16 episode of The Rob Zicari Show LIVE 10-1pm M-F

I gotta ask. What is in the chlorine that makes U.S. Olympic swimmers insane?

Remember, were was a stretch a couple years back where Michael Phelps was getting into all kinds of crazy trouble. Here is one of the greatest Olympic athletes of all time, and he’s smoking a bong, drinking and driving and having a volatile relationship with an hermaphrodite.

When your business is having millions of dollars in endorsements, you can’t be an animal. If you’re being paid to play football or baseball, there’s an element to where you can be. You can’t beat your wife or your kids, but if you happen to catch a DUI bust, chances are you’re not going to lose your $100 million dollar contract.

But if you’re an Olympic swimmer, everything is based on endorsements. Yeah, you compete in various swim meets and pick up a few thousand here and there, but your main source of income is endorsing this Speedo or that piece of equipment or having your face on a Wheaties box. When you do something to where they can take every one of those things away from you, something is wrong with your brain. I think it has something to do with the years and years of swimming in those chlorinated pools. I think repeated exposure to chlorine does something to your brain function.

How else do you explain the incident in Rio involving the U.S. swim team, minus Michael Phelps? The original story is that Ryan Lochte and his fellow swimmers were held up and robbed at gunpoint by men pretending to be police. It was a plausible story. I mean, we’re talking about Brazil, a savage third world country.

I know what I’m talking about. I was there about 15 years ago and it was rough. Luckily, I wasn’t involved in any robberies, but I heard stories. I was told that if you are stuck in traffic on a freeway, don’t hang your arm out the window if you’re wearing an expensive watch, because a pair of thieves will roll up on a motorcycle and hack your arm off to steal your timepiece. Like I said. Rough.

So when you hear about the U.S. swim team encountering some bandits in Brazil you go, “Of course they were robbed. Happens all the time. Brazil is a dangerous place.”  But then we heard all of these conflicting stories. Stories about vandalism and being drunk and urinating in public. Ryan Lochte initially claimed that he, Gunnar Benz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen were robbed at gunpoint, but police claim they made it all up, and now the State Department is involved.

gty_ap_swimmers_

Brazilian authorities are saying that they invented the robbery story to cover up the fact that they got drunk, got into an altercation with employees of a gas station where they pulled a sign off a wall and broke a door, a soap dispenser and a mirror. Then they urinated in the street. They have surveillance video of all of this happening. There’s also video of the men arriving at Olympic Village, laughing and joking and goofing off. If you were just robbed at gunpoint, would you be in a festive mood?

Of course, everyone gave conflicting accounts of what went down, so this story has evolved into an international scandal. Here you have the Rio Olympics, which were hugely successful against all odds. From green swimming pools to poison water to Zika, it didn’t look good going into the Games. But they pulled it off. The U.S. Olympic Team also won huge, and now all that’s being overshadowed by the swim team hooligans.

This is the biggest story to come out of the Olympics. You had two swimmers being pulled off the plane before they were able to depart Brazil because authorities wanted to question them about the inconsistencies in their robbery story. It was something right out of the movie Midnight Express, except they weren’t smuggling hashish, they were peddling BS.

Midnight-Express_-Alan-Parker-Review-Airport-Opening_-turkish-prison-film

What was the BS story? Lochte claimed there were pulled over in their taxi by men who flashed a badge and said they were police officers.

“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 told NBC’s “Today” the morning after the incident. “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 cellphone, he left my credentials.”

Right out of the gate, Ryan Lochte is implicating Brazilian authorities. Lochte, because he’s a tough guy, refused to get down. None of the swimmers were on the same page with their BS, so Brazilian authorities investigated and found out it was all made up.

Again, what is in the chlorine?

Here’s what I think happened. I think Lochte and his buddies got loaded, got into an altercation with the Brazilian natives at a gas station, who called Lochte a chupador. (look it up) The station employees called the police and wanted them to wait and the swimmers, not wanting to get in trouble, paid them off and left. When they got back in their car, they panicked. Lochte said, “Don’t worry, guys. I’ll come up with something. I’ll say we got robbed.” They’re all drunk, so their judgement is impaired and they go along with it. When they got sober, they couldn’t remember all the details of the story, so they gave conflicting accounts of what didn’t happen.

Lochte and company figured they would tell their little BS story and nobody would make a big deal about it, but it touched a nerve with Brazilians because they had pulled off a successful show and didn’t want anything to damper their improbable accomplishment. Authorities were set on finding the perpetrators responsible for robbing these famous U.S. Olympians and making them look bad, but they couldn’t find them because they didn’t exist.

We’ll see how the saga plays out, but I wouldn’t expect Ryan Lochte to be on a Wheaties box anytime soon. I’ll bet Michael Phelps is glad he stayed back at Olympic Village that night.

Michael-Phelps-with-his-Wheaties-box

Follow us on Twitter: @RobZicariShow and Instagram: therobzicarishow