Statement Analysis®

Was Ryan Lochte Robbed in Rio?

In August 2016, U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte was competing in the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There was some controversy when Lochte and three of his U.S. Olympic swimming teammates claimed they were robbed and held at gunpoint while clubbing in Rio. In what appears to be a very informal interview on the beach, Billy Bush from TODAY interviewed Lochte on August 14, 2016.

Bush: "So, what happened? You were held at gunpoint last night."

Lochte: "Yes."

Bush: "What happened? Who were you with? What time at night? Who pulled you over?"

Lochte: "I was with a couple of swimmers. Ah, we were coming back from a friend's house and we got pulled over in our taxi and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge. They pulled us over, ah, 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 and put it to my forehead and he said, 'Get down' and I was like, I put my hands up, I was like, 'Whatever.' He took our money. He took my wallet and then."

Bush: "But he left your cellphone, he left your credentials."

Lochte: "He left my cellphone. He left my credentials."

The word "with" in any statement indicates distance. You can see the distance in that the pronoun "I" is at the beginning of the sentence and the word "swimmers" is at the end of the sentence. Lochte could have said, "A couple swimmers and I were coming back..." In this sentence, the word "and" joins Lochte and the swimmers together. Deceptive people will sometimes use the word "with" instead of "and." Lochte may be using the word "with" because he wants to distance himself from the other swimmers. We see that later in his statement he does separate himself from the other swimmers when he allegedly takes a stand against the robbers.

Twice Lochte used the interjection "ah." He may be pausing to buy himself some time to think about what to say next. If the story is coming from memory, we would expect it to be readily available and flow smoothly. If a person is traumatized or recalling something that happened many years ago, he may have to pause to think about what happened.

Lochte said "We got pulled over." We believe what people tell us. At this point in his statement, the swimmers have been pulled over.

"No nothing" is an unusual phrase. Technically, saying there was "no nothing" means there was something. A better statement would have been to say, "These guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, nothing."

There are several ways you can use the word "just." Most of the time, when people use the word "just" they are minimizing someone's actions; "I just went to McDonalds and came home." The use of the word "just" indicates the person may have done something else in addition to going to McDonalds.

Lochte uses the word "just" to minimize the actions of the robbers. He wants us to believe all they did was produce a police badge.

"They pulled us over, ah, they pulled out their guns." Earlier in his statement, Lochte said, "We were coming back from a friend's house and we got pulled over in our taxi." We believe him when he first said they were pulled over. For him to tell us a second time they were pulled over creates a problem. Were they pulled over twice? This repetition indicates this portion of his story is not coming from memory. He is jumping around in his statement.

Lochte then said, "They told the other swimmers to get down on the ground." Lochte wants us to believe the robbers did not address him but only told the other three swimmers. One would think the robbers would tell all of the swimmers to get down on the ground.

The word "then" can mean immediately which is how people usually want to use it. However, this word can also mean "soon thereafter" which indicates the person has skipped over something in his story.

Lochte referred to one of the robbers as "the guy." He is acting like we know which guy he is talking about. Most people would say, "One of the guys pulled out his gun." Earlier, Lochte said, "They pulled out their guns." It sounds as if he is saying all the robbers pulled out their guns. Now, later in his story, he tells us that one of the robbers pulled out his gun.

Lochte said the robber put the gun to his forehead and told him to get down on the ground. Lochte's response to the robber was to say, "Whatever." Lochte seems very indifferent for having a gun pointed at him.

Lochte said, "He took my wallet and then." He was not able to finish his sentence because Bush cut him off and mentioned the cellphone and credentials.

The word "left" is a unique word. When this word is used as a verb, it indicates the person may have left out some information. This is truer when the person does not provide us with any details as to what he did after leaving. In this case, we see that the reporter first used the word "left." Lochte may have used the word "left" because he adopted the reporter's language.

Lochte also used the unique word "cellphone." When people use the word "phone" or "cellphone," it often ties them to the crime scene. Sometimes, this will be in an innocent way such as a person using their "cellphone" to call 911 to report a crime. A deceptive person may use the word "phone" in their statement as a filler. He may mention making a phone call but not provide any details as to whom he called, what they talked about and how long they talked. While Lochte does not say he made a phone call, the word cellphone does appear in his statement.

It is true the reporter used the word "cellphone." Lochte may have adopted his language. However, for the reporter to suggest that he knew the robbers did not take Lochte's cellphone and credentials, suggests that Lochte had already made this claim prior to this interview.


Lochte's statement shows several indications of deception. He used the word "just" to minimize the robber's actions.

Twice he said they were pulled over which does not make sense. This is an indication not all of his story is coming from memory.

He acts like the robbers first told the other swimmers to get down on the ground and then one of them told Lochte to get down. Common sense tells us that the robbers would initially tell all of them to get down.

Lochte's response to having a gun pointed at his forehead seems too casual.

Lochte said the swimmers were pulled over but he does not say they got out of the taxi.


Matt Lauer interviewed Ryan Lochte regarding being robbed at gunpoint while in Rio. The interview will air on Monday August 22, 2016 on TODAY. On Saturday August 20, TODAY aired a portion of the interview in which Lochte said that "there was a gun pointed in our direction and we were demanded to give money." Lochte now changes his statement. Instead of saying that a gun was put to his forehead, he now says it was pointed in their direction. Lochte also told Lauer, "I over-exaggerated that story."


In Matt Lauer's interview of Ryan Lochte which aired on August 20, 2016, Lochte told Lauer, " I left certain things out and I over-exaggerated some parts of the story." In talking about having a gun pointed at his forehead, Lochte said, "That didn't happen and that's why I over-exaggerated that part." So, we see that Lochte was being deceptive when he gave his initial statement.

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