US Olympic gold medalist charged for taking part in US Capitol riot


AP — 5-time Olympic swimming medalist Klete Keller was charged Wednesday with taking part in a lethal riot on the US Capitol after video emerged that appeared to point out him amongst these storming the constructing final week.

An FBI criticism filed in US District Court docket, citing screenshots from the video, requested a warrant charging Keller with knowingly getting into a restricted constructing to impede an official authorities perform, disorderly conduct, and obstructing legislation officers through the horrifying ordeal.

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It wasn’t clear if he had been taken into custody.

1000’s of supporters of US President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol throughout a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6 whereas lawmakers met to formalize the victory of President-elect Joe Biden.

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Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest within the US Capitol’s Rotunda on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC (SAUL LOEB / AFP)

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The 38-year-old Keller competed within the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Summer season Olympics. He captured two golds and a silver as a member of the 800-meter freestyle relay, in addition to a pair of particular person bronzes within the 400 free.

Messages looking for remark weren’t returned by Keller or his sister, former Olympic swimmer Kalyn Keller.

“We respect personal people’ and teams’ rights to peacefully protest however on no account condone the actions taken by these on the Capitol final week,” USA Swimming mentioned in a press release, noting that Keller has not been a member of the group since he retired after the 2008 Beijing Video games.

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Keller’s alleged participation within the Capitol protest was first reported this week by SwimSwam, a website devoted to overlaying aggressive swimming and different aquatic sports activities.

It pointed to video posted to social media by Townhall reporter Julio Rosas, which confirmed a tall man sporting a US Olympic group jacket among the many rioters as officers tried to clear the Rotunda.

SwimSwam mentioned no less than a dozen folks inside the sport have recognized the person as Keller after reviewing the video and screenshots.

The FBI affidavit particularly cited screenshots that present the individual recognized as Keller sporting the distinctive jacket.

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It additionally famous that the previous swimmer is listed as 6-foot-6, and the individual within the video “seems to be one of many tallest people within the video depicting people within the Rotunda.”

Keller skilled for a number of years underneath coach Bob Bowman, who’s greatest often known as the longtime coach and mentor of Michael Phelps, winner of essentially the most gold medals in Olympic historical past.

Sarah Hirshland, CEO of the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee, denounced the melee that left 5 folks useless.

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“I strongly condemn the actions of the rioters on the US Capitol,” she mentioned in a press release. “They don’t symbolize the values of the US of America or of Group USA.”

Hirshland went on to say, “At dwelling, and all over the world, Group USA athletes are held to a really excessive customary as they symbolize our nation on the sector of play and off. What occurred in Washington, D.C., was a case the place that customary was clearly not met. The folks concerned attacked the very cloth of the democracy all of us proudly symbolize and, in flip, additionally let our neighborhood down. I urge everybody related to Group USA to proceed to have fun our variety of background and beliefs, stand collectively towards hatred and divisiveness, and use our affect to create constructive change in our neighborhood.”

Keller’s social media accounts have been shut down, however they reportedly confirmed he was an outspoken supporter of Trump.

Keller’s athletic achievements are unlikely to be affected by the costs, although he could possibly be shunned by USA Swimming and the USOPC at promotional occasions and different capabilities that includes former Olympians.

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The Worldwide Olympic Committee has solely stripped medals from athletes who violated doping guidelines or different rules throughout competitors.

Keller, who grew up in Arizona, was working in Colorado as an unbiased contractor for actual property agency Hoff & Leigh, which mentioned on its web page that he suggested “industrial landlords and sellers on maximizing the worth of their industrial asset.”

Hoff & Leigh launched a press release to SwimSwam on Tuesday saying Keller has resigned.

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“Hoff & Leigh helps the best of free speech and lawful protest,” the corporate mentioned. “However we can not condone actions that violate the rule of legislation.”

A longtime stalwart of the US nationwide group, Keller was a member of 800 free relay groups that helped Phelps win two of his file 23 gold medals.

Keller anchored the successful group on the 2004 Athens Video games, which additionally included Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Peter Vanderkaay. Keller posted the quickest cut up within the group.

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USA’s Michael Phelp, middle, shouts as his teammates Ryan Lochte and Klete Keller, proper, look on through the males’s 4x200m Freestyle relay closing on the World Swimming Championships in Melbourne, Australia, March 30, 2007 (AP Photograph/Mark Baker)

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4 years later, Keller anchored the relay through the preliminaries, powering the People to the quickest time, however he didn’t compete within the closing. Phelps, Lochte, Ricky Berens and Vanderkaay turned in a world-record efficiency that was a part of Phelps’ file eight gold medals in Beijing.

Keller struggled to regulate to post-Olympic life.

In interviews with the Olympic Channel podcast and USA Swimming, he admitted to being a poor worker and feeling entitled due to his athletic success. The issues carried over to his private life, which resulted in a divorce that left him dwelling in his automotive for 10 months and a lack of visitation rights that prevented him from seeing his youngsters for years.

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He credited his household and particularly his sister for serving to him get his life again on observe.


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