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Rio Olympics 2016: 'I couldn't believe it', says Phelps of Lochte's taxi hold-up

Separately, Phelps also called for tougher action on athletes who take performance enhancing drugs, weighing in on the doping controversies that have plagued Rio 2016. Photograph: (Reuters)

Reuters Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Aug 14, 2016, 10.52 PM (IST)
The most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps, on Sunday (August 14) said he reacted with disbelief when he heard his teammate Ryan Lochte had been involved in a taxi hold-up in Rio de Janeiro and confirmed to reporters that he was not present when the incident took place.

US gold medalist Lochte said armed robbers posing as police officers held a gun to his forehead in a taxi hold-up in Rio after a party early on Sunday.

"For me I've been to Brazil multiple times and I've felt safe every time I've come here. I've never felt an issue. I wasn't there last night, I was with my family all night long, that was the most important thing to me," he said.

"But I was definitely not there last night, I was dead asleep," added Phelps.

Lochte told NBC's Today Show he was returning to the Olympic village from a party hosted by the French Games delegation, with swimming team mates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen, when armed men carrying police badges pulled them over.

The men told the swimmers to drop to the ground and demanded their money and belongings, but Lochte said he had initially refused to go to ground.

Security has been a major headache for organisers of South America's first Olympics.

"I kind of said excuse me, I couldn't believe it," recalled Phelps about when he heard about the robbery on Sunday.

Separately, Phelps also called for tougher action on athletes who take performance enhancing drugs, weighing in on the doping controversies that have plagued Rio 2016.

"We have kids looking up to these athletes that are competing and I feel like all athletes should keep clean and if you don't, there should be a price, he said.

Phelp's said he left the Olympic pool for the last time on Saturday having fulfilled a childhood dream, but it is clear he will not be walking away from the sport that has turned him into a global household name.

"I am done competing but by no means does this mean that it's the end of my career. It's the start of something new and that's something I look forward to. So you know Ryan [Lochte] may come back in another four years but I'm not. This is it," he said.

Phelps' swimming career ended with his 23rd gold medal in the 4x100 medley relay medal on Saturday, which extended his record as the most decorated Olympian of all-time.

(AFP)
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