Olympic Gold Medalist Klete Keller Charged In Capitol Riot

The former Olympic swimmer was recognized in social media videos of the insurrection in part because he wore his Team USA jacket.

UPDATE: 5:06 p.m. — Two-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Klete Keller faces charges stemming from the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol after he was recognized in social media videos of the assault.

The criminal complaint, filed Wednesday in a U.S. District Court in Washington, charged Keller with knowingly entering a restricted building or grounds without authority, obstructing law enforcement and disorderly conduct in the Capitol.

The complaint stated that Keller was identified via social media footage, in which he was seen wearing what appears to be his United States Olympic Team jacket.


Klete Keller, a five-time Olympic medalist and one-time teammate of famed swimmer Michael Phelps, was recognized by members of the swimming community in the crowd that breached the U.S. Capitol last week, according to several news outlets.

The six-foot-six swimmer appears to be the man towering over the mob that clashed with police inside the Capitol Rotunda, being jostled about and wearing a Team USA jacket, in a video posted by Townhall reporter Julio Rosas. Swimming website SwimSwam first reported it was Keller on Monday.

According to The New York Times, several of Keller’s former teammates and coaches said they recognized him in the clip, in part because of his height and the U.S. Olympic team jacket.

Keller’s social media accounts have been deleted. People who recognized him told the Times that in recent years he had espoused views on those accounts backing President Donald Trump. The mob had been incited by Trump at a rally to march to the Capitol as part of the effort he spearheaded to thwart the certification by Congress of Joe Biden’s victory in November’s presidential election.

Several people who identified Keller in the video said they have reported him to authorities. Calls mounted on social media on Tuesday for him to be stripped of his Olympic medals.

In an email Wednesday, a spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee said the medals were awarded for sporting achievements and that the group had no further comment.

Sarah Hirshland, CEO of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, said in a Wednesday statement that the group would wait for law enforcement to confirm the identity of the person in the video and “determine necessary action.” The committee would “then evaluate any appropriate actions of our own,” she said.

“I strongly condemn the actions of the rioters at the U.S. Capitol. They do not represent the values of the United States of America or of Team USA,” Hirshland added. “At home, and around the world, Team USA athletes are held to a very high standard, as they represent our country on the field of play and off. What happened in Washington, D.C., was a case where that standard was clearly not met.”

Keller, 38, has been employed at Hoff & Leigh, a real estate firm in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The agency confirmed his employment to SwimSwam on Monday. By Tuesday, his profile had been removed from its website. And in a statement issued later in the day, the company said Keller had resigned from his position, The Washington Post reported.

While not directly addressing Keller’s apparent attendance at the riot, the statement said, “Hoff & Leigh supports the right of free speech and lawful protest but we cannot condone actions that violate the rule of law.”

Keller won a total of five medals at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Summer Games. He won gold twice, one in Athens in ’04 and one in Beijing in ’08, as part of the 4x200-meter freestyle relay team, on which he teamed with Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Peter Vanderkaay.

This story has been updated with comments from the International Olympic Committee and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

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