Olympian Keller accused of participating in US capital riot

Five-time Olympic swimming medalist Kell Keller was accused of taking part in a deadly riot in the US Capitol on Wednesday after videos surfaced showing him amidst a storm in the building last week.

An FBI complaint was filed in US District Court, requesting a warrant charge, citing screenshots from the video showing Keller intentionally obstructing an official government function to enter a restricted building, It was requested to conduct disorderly and obstruct law officers during the appalling process.

It was not clear whether he was detained.

Thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump created a ruckus at the Capitol during a joint session of Congress on 6 January, while lawmakers formalized President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Keller, 38, competed in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics. He captured two gold and one silver as a member of the 800 meter freestyle relay, as well as a pair of individual bronze in the 400 free.

Messages seeking comment were not returned by Keller or his sister, former Olympic swimmer Kalin Keller.

“We respect the rights of private individuals and groups to peacefully protest, but by no means condemn the actions taken at the Capitol last week,” USA Swimming said in a statement, noting that Keller Not a member of the organization. Retired after the 2008 Beijing Games.

Keller’s alleged involvement in the Capitol protest was first reported This week by SwimSwam, a site dedicated to covering competitive swimming and other aquatic sports.

It pointed to the video Posted on social media by Townhall reporter Julio Rosas, in which a tall man wearing an American Olympic team jacket appeared among the rioters as officials attempted to clean the rotunda.

Swimswam said at least a dozen people within the game identified the man as Keller after reviewing videos and screenshots.

The FBI specifically cited screenshots that identified the person as Keller wearing a specific jacket.

It also stated that the former swimmer is listed as 6-foot-6, and that the person in the video is “one of the tallest individuals in the video that depicts individuals in Rotanda.”

Keller trained for years under coach Bob Bowman, best known as the longest-serving coach and mentor of Michael Phelps, who won the most gold medals in Olympic history.

US Olympic and Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirschland condemns melee Due to which five people died.

“I strongly condemn the rioters’ action in the US Capitol,” she said in a statement. “They do not represent the values ​​of the United States or Team USA.”

Hirschland stated, “At home, and around the world, Team USA athletes are placed at a high level because they represent our country in the field of sports and field. What happened in Washington, DC is a case in point Was where this standard was clearly not met. Those involved attacked the very fabric of democracy, which we all proudly represent and, in turn, disappointed our community as well. I joined Team USA I urge all people to celebrate the diversity of our backgrounds and beliefs, to stand together against hate and division, and to use our influence to bring positive change in our community. “

Keller’s social media accounts have been closed, but he reportedly showed that he was a vocal supporter of Trump.

Keller’s athletic accomplishments are unlikely to be affected by the allegations, though he may be kept away from USA Swimming and the USOPC from promotional events and other work featuring the former Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee has only wrested medals from athletes who violated doping rules or other rules during the competition.

Keller, who grew up in Arizona, was working as an independent contractor for the real estate firm Hoff & Leh in Colorado, which stated on its Web site that he “allowed industrial landlords and sellers to value their industrial property.” Advised to maximize. ”

Hoff and Leah issued a statement to Swimswam on Tuesday, saying Keller resigned.

“Hoff and Leh support the right to free speech and legitimate protest,” the company said. “But we cannot condemn actions that violate the rule of law.”

A long-standing stalemate of the US national team, Keller was a member of the 800 free relay teams that helped Phelps win two of his record 23 gold medals.

Keller anchored the winning team at the 2004 Athens Games, which also included Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Peter Vanderke. Keller posted the fastest split in the group.

Four years later, Keller anchored Riley during the prelims, to give the Americans the fastest time, but they did not compete in the finals. Phelps, Locte, Ricky Byrnes and Vanderkeye made a world-record appearance as part of Phelps’ record eight gold medals in Beijing.

Keller struggled to adjust to the afterlife of the Olympics.

In an interview with the Olympic Channel Podcast And USA Swimming, he felt entitled to be a poor employee and due to his athletic success. Problems were carried over to his personal life, resulting in a divorce which led to him staying in his car for 10 months and loss of visitation rights which prevented him from seeing his children for years.

He credited his family and especially his sister for helping him get his life back on track.


Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/pnewberry1963. His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paulnewberry.


More AP Olympic coverage: https://www.apnews.com/OlympicGames and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


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