Klete Keller, a five-time Olympic medalist and one-time teammate of famed swimmer Michael Phelps, was recognised by members of the swimming community in the crowd that breached the US 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 recognised him in the clip, in part because of his height and the US Olympic team jacket.
Keller’s social media accounts have been deleted. People who recognised 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. The International Olympic Committee did not immediately respond to a HuffPost request for comment. Nor did USA Swimming, the governing body for competitive swimming in the US.
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 late 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.
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