A member of Britain’s 366-member Olympics team was robbed at gunpoint early Tuesday, and British track and field officials warned athletes that it is not worth the risk of going out “given the current climate in Rio.”
A spokesman for the British team confirmed an “incident of theft,” but the athlete’s identity and gender and the location of the incident were not revealed. According to the Guardian, the victim was held up while out on the town.
“All members of our delegation, including the individual concerned, are accounted for, and are safe and well,” the spokesman told the Guardian on Wednesday evening.
The incident came to light Wednesday, as inconsistencies arose in claims by United States swimmers Ryan Lochte, James Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger that they were robbed over the weekend in Rio. Conger and Bentz were removed from their plane and detained by Rio officials investigating the swimmers’ story of being robbed at gunpoint by bandits dressed as police officers.
Feigen, according to the San Antonio Express-News, remains in Brazil; Lochte is back in the United States.
In a letter to athletes obtained by the Guardian, British track and field officials reminded them not to wear team outfits or valuables outside the Olympic Village and not to take local taxis. In addition, they were told they “MUST inform a member of team management if you are leaving the village and planning on staying out overnight – please do this BEFORE you leave.” (Emphasis theirs.)
The letter ends by warning athletes that it’s safer to not venture out in Rio.
“Rio is NOT a safe environment, and the level of crime has spiked in the last few days,” it says. “Think very carefully about whether it is worth the risk of leaving the village to celebrate after you have finished competing – BOA/UKA [British Olympic Association/United Kingdom Athletics] staff cannot guarantee your safety when away from the village/British School/British House. Our strong advice is that it is simply not worth the risk given the current climate in Rio.”