Olympic gold medalist swimmer Klete Keller among rioters

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Craig Harris
,
Jeff Metcalfe

| Republic of Arizona

Olympic gold medalist swimmer Klete Keller may have joined the riot inside the U.S. Capitol last week, according to multiple media outlets who identify him based on photos and videos taken that day. Keller, 38, is a three-time Olympic swimmer, who won five medals in total, including gold medals at the 2004 and 2008 Summer Games for the US team.

Keller could not be reached for comment on the phone numbers listed for him, and a message left at his working number was not returned.

He was, until Tuesday, listed as a real estate agent with Hoff & Leigh in Colorado. Hoff & Leigh issued a statement Tuesday afternoon saying Keller, an independent contractor, had resigned. Although the firm has not confirmed that Keller was in the riot, it said: “Hoff & Leigh supports the right to free speech and legal protest, but we cannot tolerate actions that violate Right wing state. ”

Keller’s biographical information was removed from the company’s website on Tuesday morning.

Swimswam, a competitive swimming website, first reported that Keller may have been among the crowd, based on “at least a dozen people” who had reviewed footage and videos from the raid. Swimming World magazine published a similar report on its site, based on anonymous sources. The New York Times said Keller was in the crowd on Capitol Hill, according to “former teammates and coaches” who identified him in photos. Brent Rutemiller, general manager of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and editor of Swimming World, told The Arizona Republic that photos and images on social media of Keller inside the Capitol during the crowd surge at January 6 were accurate representations of the Olympic champion who trained. at the Phoenix Swim Club with other Olympic champions.

“It’s Klete,” Rutemiller said in an email. ” I confirmed. He didn’t explain why he was certain of Keller’s identity.

Rutemiller, also editor of Swimming World Magazine, said he recognized the US team jacket the person was wearing in the pictures.

But USA Swimming, the governing body of Olympic sport in the United States, said it did not know if Keller was on Capitol Hill and “cannot confirm its accuracy.” “We respect the rights of individuals and groups to demonstrate peacefully but in no way condone the actions taken by those on Capitol Hill last week,” Isabelle McLemore, general manager of communications for USA Swimming, said on Monday in an email. .

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Keller’s most famous swim came when he stood up to Australian star Ian Thorpe in the anchor leg of the 4 × 200-meter freestyle relay at the 2004 Athens Games to win the race by just 0.13 second.

Keller, who has an Arizona flag tattooed on his right bicep, won back-to-back bronze medals in the 400 freestyle at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2004 Games, including setting the US record (3:44, 11) in Athens.

He also won a silver medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay in Sydney and a gold medal in the same relay at the 2008 Games in Beijing.
Journalist from the town hall Julio Rosas is credited with taking photos and videos on Wednesday inside the Capitol that included Keller and were posted on social media sites like Twitter.

Hundreds of individuals, many wearing pro-Donald Trump clothing, overwhelmed security on Capitol Hill on the afternoon of January 6, following a pro-Trump rally.

Rioters looted the offices of Congress and lawmakers were taken to safety, interrupting the work of both chambers to vote to certify Trump’s electoral defeat.

The FBI asked for the public’s help in locating the people inside the Capitol. Federal authorities continue to round up and arrest those accused of the deadly insurgency, and said on Tuesday that some people involved in the riot could be charged with tort trespass and then face more serious felony charges. On Saturday, Phoenix resident Jake Angeli, who made national news with photos of himself inside the Capitol wearing an animal fur hat topped with horns, surrendered to federal authorities.

Angeli was on a wanted list by Washington, DC police. Aware authorities were looking for him, Angeli called the FBI earlier in the week to identify himself as the man pictured in the Capitol Rotunda and, briefly, on the dais of the US Senate. He remained in detention.

Do you have any advice on investigative stories? Contact the reporter at [email protected] or Twitter @charrisazrep.



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