The biggest story coming out of Rio is the controversy over whether the silver-haired dude-bro did or did not get mugged by cops outside of the Olympic Village. For those who haven’t been following, the facts in this case are weird and shifting, the upshot being that Lochte, the U.S. gold medalist swimmer, may have filed a false police report when he claimed that he and three other American swimmers were held up at gunpoint by men pretending to be police last weekend. The whole truth of the matter has yet to emerge, but new evidence suggests Lochte and company were the ones causing trouble that night, allegedly trashing a bathroom door at a gas station. Now his American teammates are saying Lochte fabricated the story, according to ESPN.
Rio is a city with real problems of crime and violence, among them the wanton brutality of its police. Its residents resent the billions spent on superficial makeovers for the Olympics instead of much-needed services and infrastructure, a story that has struggled to grab the attention of American audiences the way Lochte’s initial claim has. Residents also resent the condescending racism that made Lochte’s initial version of events so easy for foreigners to accept, which is one of the reasons the Brazilian authorities are taking the Lochte case so seriously. If it turns out that Lochte is indeed just a drunk gringo using Third World stereotypes to cover up his transgressions, it will say nothing good about Lochte or the way these Games have been covered.