Michael Phelps was stunned to hear Ryan Lochte and three other United States swimming teammates were robbed at gunpoint on the way back to the Olympic Village early Sunday.
"I kind of said, 'excuse me?' I couldn't believe it," Phelps said at a news conference on Sunday. "I don't even know the full story. I saw a little bit of it."
A statement released by the U.S. Olympic Committee said Lochte, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen were in a taxi from France House to the Olympic Village when the vehicle was stopped by people posing as armed police "who demanded the athletes' money and other personal belongings."
No one was injured, but Lochte told NBC one of the men put a gun to his forehead after he refused their orders to lie on the ground.
Lochte subsequently tweeted his thanks for all the support he had received in the wake of the incident and said he was looking forward to getting home.
"What is most important is that we are safe and unharmed," he wrote.
Phelps said he was with his family all night after wrapping up his Olympic career in the 4x100 metre medley relay with his 23rd gold medal. He added that he always takes precautionary measures in public when competing abroad.
"Every time I travel internationally we always make sure everything is very secure," he said. "I have a team, personally, who is always looking out for everything.
"The USOC is always making sure we're as protected as we can be. ... I've been to Brazil multiple times and I've always felt safe."