Klete Keller, an Olympic gold medalist swimmer, took part in the Capitol siege

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I’ve tweeted about this a few times, but I’m bothered by the narrative that the white supremacists and terrorists who laid siege to the Capitol were somehow all poor, ignorant rednecks. Some of them were, most of them were not. There were police officers from other jurisdictions, real estate agents, bartenders, legislators, sons of privilege, wealthy elites who came to DC via chartered private planes and terrible people from all walks of life, from all economic backgrounds and status. That’s what makes it so disturbing. As it turns out, one of the terrorists was a gold-medal winning Olympic swimmer.

Olympic gold medalist Klete Keller has been identified as having taken part in the U.S. Capitol riots last Wednesday, according to reports. Keller, a swimmer who won two gold medals on the U.S. relay team along with Michael Phelps, was identified by former teammates and coaches via social media images showing him inside the U.S. Capitol, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The 38-year-old was not seen committing any violent acts in the images, which were taken during the pro-Trump siege on the Capitol building that left five people dead. Video on social media shows a man that appears to be Keller wading in a crowd of rioters who were being pushed out from the Capitol Rotunda by law enforcement, inside the building.

The Times reported a number of Keller’s former teammates and coaches identified him in a video posted on Twitter by a reporter from the conservative news outlet Townhall. Keller was identifiable, according to the report, because he was wearing an U.S. Olympic team jacket and that his protective facemask — meant to be worn to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) — was not covering his face.

The video had reportedly been shared widely among the swimming community and the Times reported that “several people” alerted law enforcement after viewing the clip. Swimming news website SwimSwam was first to report the news on Monday. The site reported that Keller’s social media accounts have been deleted but he was an “outspoken supporter” of President Donald Trump, according to his past posts.

[From People]

First off, if an Olympic swimmer was dumb enough to storm the Capitol with a bunch of unmasked terrorists, wouldn’t you have thought that Ryan Lochte would be the guy? But apparently it’s this guy. And to do it while wearing his Olympic jacket too – my God. Here’s my question: is there any precedent for the US Olympic Committee to strip him of his medals? I know that’s not the most important thing, but I wish they would do it. I also believe that every single person who entered the Capitol needs to be arrested. This wasn’t a situation where “oh, there’s no video evidence of this guy doing anything violent.” He was part of a group which terrorized elected officials, their staff and members of the press. He was part of a terrorist act which left five people dead, including a cop. Arrest him.

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83 Responses to “Klete Keller, an Olympic gold medalist swimmer, took part in the Capitol siege”

  1. Snuffles says:

    Take his medals away and ban him from Olympic competition for life.

    • Abby says:

      Agree. 100% he should not be allowed to represent this country anymore.

      I think Ryan Lochte is dumb, but I don’t think he’d be this malicious, unless he got talked into going to the rally for fun.

    • Seraphina says:

      Agreed. Let him compete for another country.

    • Allie says:

      He has not competed in Olympics after 2008.

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      THIS! He wants to join a seditious insurrection against the country he’s represented? Ah,, no. HELL NO. If he can’t be stripped of Olympic medals, fine, but his ass should be in JAIL for being part of that mob! End. Of.

    • Traveler says:

      My thoughts exactly. Strip him of his medals and put him in jail.

    • DaffiestPlot says:

      He’s 38. His competition days are over.

      And if that photo of the 4 of them isn’t a wind tunnel of stupidity, I don’t know what is.

      • Joan Rivers says:

        If he was getaway driver knocking over a gas station and the clerk died of a heart attack even, they’d ALL be charged w/murder. HIM too!

        So being part of the crowd that murdered a cop, yeah, he gets the FBI door knock.

        And how dare he wear that jacket!

    • Rascalito says:

      Give him a time machine. He can compete in 1930s Germany, where I’m sure he’d fell right at home.

  2. Ariel says:

    He is a terrorist. Anyone who “stormed” the United States Capitol and forced their way inside is a terrorist and an enemy of the United States.

    • Megan2 says:

      And to add to the whole “wellllll… these guys were THERE but we don’t have evidence of them actively murdering anyone or vandalizing anything… so they get a pass…”

      Pretty sure they arrested a f*ck ton of people for taking part in the 9/11 attacks who weren’t actively flying the planes and weren’t at the airport either when they took off. So MAYBE actually stealing a podium shouldn’t be the standard. MAYBE, taking part, planning, watching, and promoting a terrorist attack should be the standard. And then you can add additional charges for the ones being violent on camera.

    • Missskitttin says:

      The founding fathers are revolving in their coffins frowning upon what trash we have become.

      • Ange says:

        Meh, looking from the outside the founding fathers would be fairly happy there’s such a big movement to keep things they way they set them up. Let’s not pretend they were beacons of equality and fairness.

  3. Sarah says:

    Arrest him and strip him of his medals. There has to be legal and social consequences and they must be swift.

  4. Va Va Kaboom says:

    That’s one of the most “young Tucker Carlson” douche-bro faces I’ve ever seen. I guess the official Olympic jacket was his version of a bow tie.

    Oh, and I’m pretty sure medals have been stripped from athletes for less. Or at the very least a case can be made to strip this Jack-a$$ of his for literal insurrection against the country he supposedly represented when he earned it.

  5. Emm says:

    Is it pronounced like a baseball cleat? Yeah, these were not all poor destitute unemployed magas. It was all white male privilege and rage though.

  6. Wiglet Watcher says:

    In my state there was a prominent multimillionaire with political prospects that went. He met up with a group in Boston and they all had VIP sections. They were not among the insurgents. They are all educated and respectable that don’t really preach politics. You can never tell.

  7. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    What do we do with terrorists? It’s all rather simple isn’t it. And yet here we are.

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      I hear Gauntanamo is available…

      • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

        Exactly. They should probably experience actually having all their freedoms taken away. Maybe after a few years, they’d come around to thinking how well they lived and what they’ve lost.

  8. DeltaJuliet says:

    For the record I know LOADS of rednecks. And they may be ignorant and racist, but they aren’t poor.

    Guns and ammo aren’t cheap, you know!

    • Amy Bee says:

      The problem is, for a long time, the mainstream press, liberals and progressives stereotyped the Trump supporter as white working class and believed that these people voted for Trump because of economic anxiety. This attempted coup has dispelled that myth.

    • Emm says:

      Ha! So true. I live in maga country and there is a neighborhood that is known for being just straight redneck, all the houses are small mid century ranches and close together. Most of them don’t take care of their yards or their house but let me tell ya, they all have the biggest truck out there, guns and ammo up the wazoo, and they buy thousands of dollars worth of fireworks all year long and set them off for any occasion. Fourth of July around here is basically all summer long, Halloween? For sure, Thanksgiving? Absolutely, Sunday night March whatever? Duh! They all work for the big industry around here so they make great money.

  9. Miranda says:

    So many of these people made themselves very easily identifiable, and not just by neglecting their facemasks (being assholes, they were already doing that). I mean, wearing your Olympics gear? YOU’RE NOT EVEN TRYING!

    I am really looking forward to the inevitable long reads and documentaries, because I want to know how many of these people genuinely believed that they were going to overthrow the government, or whether they were just run-of-the-mill racists who wanted a chance to show their ass on national TV. On the one hand, I get that maybe we shouldn’t give them so much attention, but on the other hand, stupidity can be fascinating.

    • Watson says:

      Totally. These idiots can’t even conduct criminal activities correctly.

      • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

        All over my Twitter (political) there are LOADS of videos these asshats uploaded about planning, and participation in this seditious coup! Seriously stupid. Part of the “if it’s not in a pic/video it didn’t happen” Stupid.

    • molly says:

      Apparently he’s 6’6″! Did he think he would blend in? Did he think he wouldn’t draw attention to himself by being the tallest insurrectionist in the room??

      I feel sympathy toward his children because he’s seemed to really struggle post-Olympics, but he’s also painfully, painfully stupid. (And racist.)

    • Godwina says:

      “I want to know how many of these people genuinely believed that they were going to overthrow the government.”

      Yep, this. The thinking of 2nd Amendment gun nuts baffles me (on more than one level). The US military of the 18th century was a fart compared to the US military today, and nothing is getting overthrown even by thousands of armed insurgents in your country unless a huge chunk of the US military is part of the attempt. Jesus heck calm down.

    • Dl says:

      At the time these people were proud of what they were doing. They wanted the world to see how brave they were. They are all shocked at the nations reaction to this. It is insurrection but they thought they were in the right. That scares me the most. They truly believed they were right.

  10. josephine says:

    I agree that I’ve been shocked by the number of professionally employed people involved although there is still a healthy dose of underemployed folks represented among the terrorists.

    But this guy, despite being an olympian, was homeless for nearly a year and very adrift after the olympics. It happens. Not suggesting that it is in any way an excuse – there simply is no excuse. Just pointing out that he kinda does fit that narrative of the white, privileged dude that is so angry and unhappy despite having tons of advantage. He gave an interview (long before this) openly discussing his unwillingess to apply himself to his jobs or marriage.

    • Emm says:

      Sounds about right, having to try and put effort into your life is hard so why not just sit back and do nothing and then get angry and blame everyone else when it doesn’t work out for you.

      • Ange says:

        Honestly it’s kinda weird that a guy who could apply himself to a massive training regime for years to make the Olympics couldn’t manage it anywhere else. I know it happens but it’s always odd to see such disparity

      • Nana says:

        Absolutely no excusing this idiot’s actions, but in response to your point @Ange, we’ve had alot of Olympians (in Australia), footballers and cricketers and I think netballers (a huge female sport here, with a national competition), come out after retiring from their respective sports and confess they’re battling depression or some other mental health problem.
        So I think we’re getting better as a society, at recognising that these young people, who’ve been made demigods by mainstream/tabloid media, have problems adjusting to life after sport. They struggle without the routine, the training regime and for some, without the attention.
        Of course they get bagged out because they are incredibly privileged and have connections that the rest of us will never have. Their privilege doesn’t prevent depression or mental health problems, but it can and does get elite sports people better help. And see Elizabeth’s insightful comment below – despite all the hardship she has faced, she didn’t lower herself to violence or terrorism, while this guy did.
        So, back to harpooning Keller – he deserves it like every other insurrectionist who turned up.

    • Elizabeth says:

      The disparity in treatment between white men, to a lesser extent white women, and the rest of the world is astounding.

      I’ve struggled a great deal in my life, with homelessness, physical, sexual, mental etc. abuse, loss of a cherished career, mental illness, etc., and I never resorted to violence and it certainly didn’t turn me into a Republican. So although I definitely feel compassion for what he must have been struggling with (I always feel so sad to hear that anyone has been homeless, because it is so, so dehumanizing and our system is so useless), in the end, I agree there’s no excuse.

      • GirlMonday says:

        I completely agree, the dude with horns refused to eat anything but organic food. So the judge decided that’s what he shall have.

      • Moneypenny424 says:

        Very true and I am sorry for the your struggles.

        If a black person with his background got shot by police, people would use those same points (he was homeless, didn’t care about a job, he’s tall and an Olympian) as why he was intimidating and justification for killing him.

      • josephine says:

        I agree. White men always get the benefit of the doubt. White teens are always labeled as immature, or “going through something” or “good kids who made a mistake” or “deserving of a second chance.” And we so quickly label white men as unstable or mentally unfit as soon as they do something wrong. As a society we are constantly making excuses for white men (and women). Everyone else is told that they are lazy, just aren’t applying themselves, expect everything handed to them, make too many excuses, are exaggerating their problems. But from what I can see, those labels fit all of these terrorists instead.

        The double-standard is so sickening.

  11. Amy Bee says:

    I’m not sure that the US Olympic Committee could do it as it’s the IOC that gives out Olympic medals and Keller would have to have violated an IOC by-law for him to be stripped. I think medals are only stripped if they are found to be cheating, I’m not sure participating in an insurrection is covered by the IOC. The US Olympic Committee (wrongfully) expelled Tommy Smith and John Carlos from the Games, for raising a fist at the medal ceremony in Mexico 1968, but they got to keep their medals.

    • lanne says:

      So he keeps his medals, but he should be banned from participating in any Olympic activity or US Swimming community for life. This isn’t “free speech” we’re talking about. This is insurrection. He didn’t just attend the rally. He stormed the Capitol.

    • lucy2 says:

      I would imagine there’s some national titles and medals though, aside from the Olympics. US Swimming could certainly void some of those.

  12. steph says:

    I feel like a meanie saying this, but yeah Lochte would be dumb enough to do this if he was a Trumpster. I just went through his IG, can’t tell if he is or not.

    As for this guy, yeah I hope he’s arrested and his medals stripped. I don’t know if there is precedent for stripping his medals but didn’t Phelps get into some kind of trouble with the Olympic committee for smoking weed? There can be some kind of repercussions.

    I just looked up Keller, he’s also one of the real estate agents there.

    • molly says:

      I’m not sure if it’s general maturity or the stability of his wife and kids, but I’ll hand it to Lochte for getting his life back on the rails. Based on his insta, he looks to have a really great, happy life full of work, swimming, kids, and charity. Good for him, honestly.

    • Tiffany says:

      Here is the thing about Lochte, he is dim yes, but he also a little bit too dumb to get caught up in this, it would seem.

      He would be the perfect target but even then they would get tired because they can’t get through to him, you know what I mean.

    • LAR says:

      Lochte was totally who I thought of when I saw Olympic swimmer. Poor box of rocks.

    • Willow says:

      It really bothers me how every conversation about Lochte ends about how dumb he is. That’s not okay. There is a lot more to him than his IQ, which is something he can’t change, and he has accomplished things that many people never will. And I wonder how kids who struggle in school feel when they read comments about him? I just don’t think it’s okay to constantly point out and make fun of a person’s lack of intelligence.

      • lanne says:

        I think people make fun of him because he faked getting attacked during the Olympics and blamed POCs for his own dumb drunk behavior. He doesn’t get a pass.

    • Esmom says:

      He’s not a real estate agent anymore. The SwimSwam article also said that he as not allowed to have contact with his four kids for a time. That can’t be good.

      • steph says:

        The way I read it, he was at the time of the insurrection but was fired after his pic surfaced and he was identified.

  13. Allie says:

    Why should he have taken his medals away? Lots of athletes are a-holes, some commit crimes later in life. Should they all be stripped off their medals and pay back the money they won in a competition? If he was one of the rioters he should be investigated and charged for whatever crime he committed. If he’s still part of a sports team or organisation then kick him out. But taking away medals he won 12 to 20 years ago does not make sense.

    • Pusspants says:

      In this case he committed a crime against the United States. This is the country he represented in the olympics, so I think it is fitting that he could be stripped of medals. It’s different than if he had stolen a car or assaulted a person (not that those things are excusable). But I agree with the poster above that it’s unlikely the IOC would care about this since they are an international body.

  14. Courtney B says:

    He ended up homeless and unemployed in 2014, divorced and having lost visitation with his kids. Didn’t know where 3 of his 5 medals were. Then he got it together, got a job and his life seemed to be back on track. It could’ve been an inspirational story of a fall from heights and then a rebuilding of a life from rock bottom but instead took a very dark turn. I wonder if he’s one that blames everyone else for his misfortunes? That’s a running theme with many of these people despite their own contempt for ‘entitled snowflakes’. Or was he always like this? Trump certainly triggered something ugly in a lot of people—it was just a matter of how dormant or near the surface already it was. Now the real estate firm he worked at says he’s resigned and all mention of him is gone from their website.

    • Teresa says:

      My husband made a great point. Covid has forced many people out of work and social activities so they have nothing better to do than sit in front of a TV and indoctrinate themselves. Some watch Netflix some watch OAN and pick a person to hate that isn’t themselves. It’s the perfect storm for extremists.

      • Esmom says:

        It’s a really good point. Reading some of the profiles of the insurrectionists, it seems like many of them had right wing views or no real political affiliations and really ramped them up this year. And then when Trump claimed the election was stolen, they really got fired up. Definitely a perfect storm.

    • Laughysaphy says:

      Keller claims that success in swimming came easily to him (or at least more naturally) and that non-swimming tasks, like whatever he did for jobs after 2008, did not. And he found that extremely frustrating and did not handle his failures well. So he acted out in the workforce and ended up losing his jobs and ultimately ended up homeless. Not saying any of this to excuse him, just a little more background. I think it can be a very difficult transition to go from Olympic level athlete to normal person, especially if the athlete hasn’t put any effort into their development outside of their sport. Especially in sports that don’t have a professional component, like swimming.

  15. GuestwithCat says:

    It is absolutely chilling to see who makes up the ranks of MAGATS. I’m not even talking about Republican or Conservative, I am talking hardcore ride or die for Trump, the man, the legend in his own mind. Yet I know these people are intelligent enough to know Trump is a lying buffoon. I don’t think they care. They are just for him because he speaks and embodies something very ugly deep within them. He’s just a convenient tool. When Trump has played out, they will find another to carry their banner. They’ll find some clever name and slogan for the next iteration of MAGA.

    Now yes, there are some disturbed delusional souls who actually do worship Trump himself. I don’t think they have any hardwired convictions but are just caught up in his cult of personality. As a reality series host he has some flair for showmanship and that is what the lower tier of his followers worship.

    At these rallies all these messed up people come together. What could possibly go wrong? 🙄

  16. Michael says:

    The Olympics took the medals of two Black Men for raising the Black Power sign. So they can do it. However, I notice that punishment for white men is often far lighter for exercising White Power than for Black Men exercising Black Power. So I doubt anything will happen

  17. Mignionette says:

    What a way to sh!t on your legacy.

    Dumb.

  18. GirlMonday says:

    Wouldn’t be surprised if his middle name started with a “K” as well, you know, just to round it out

  19. Godwina says:

    Well that’s a waste of a great V-line.

  20. Kimber says:

    Stupendously stupid to wear his Olympic jacket while committing a seditionist crime. What an idiot. But I worry with all these unstable people being fired ( correctly so) and ostracized. I fear it will lead to violent lone wolf or even group incidents.

  21. Veronica S. says:

    Kick him from the team and ban him from future events. Somebody who tries to undermine their own nation’s elections shouldn’t be able to represent it.

  22. Winterberry says:

    He looks like a lunkhead.

  23. Spanky says:

    He probably wore the jacket on purpose. “Look at me! I’m an Olympian and I support Trump!” Why else would you show up at an event like that with such a recognizable jacket on?

  24. EveV says:

    Dead on, I think that is def the reason he wore the jacket.
    Ugh! These people…

  25. Moo says:

    A Trumpeter conspiracy theorist doctor attended. I’m ashamed.

  26. sa says:

    Based on the top picture, I’m assuming he’s a trojan, ugh. I don’t care if there is video of him committing violence, if you go to a “protest” that is being promoted as a “war” you don’t get to avoid accountability by saying you only encouraged and cheered on others violently attacking the government.

  27. Poisonella says:

    He was wearing his Olympic jacket and they show him being aggressive with a cop. He does not represent our country and his should be removed from any Olympics recognition.

  28. JillyBeann says:

    He’s long past his prime (13 years at least) to ever compete again… the fact that he made the team for three Olympics is surprising enough

  29. Jay says:

    How much do you want to bet that he wore it on purpose? There were no efforts to cover faces, they posed and livestreamed their inserrection, because I think most of them are so deep in Q world that they believe they are part of a militia. Like, why would he cover his face? He WANTS to be known. And I guess he got what he wished for.

  30. Jay says:

    How much do you want to bet that he wore it on purpose? There were no efforts to cover faces, they posed and livestreamed their inserrection, because I think most of them are so deep in Q world that they believe they are part of a militia. Like, why would he cover his face? He WANTS to be known. And I guess he got what he wished for.

    In terms of stripping medals, didn’t the two American athletes who raised fists on the podium in Mexico City have theirs taken away? Or was that done by the IOC?

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