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IOC rejects ban on Rio nightlife

AAP logoAAP 18/08/2016

The International Olympic Committee has ruled out a blanket ban on athletes leaving the Olympic village to see the sights and sounds of Rio, describing such a step as "a bit crazy".

But the IOC says restrictions on the movement of athletes are ultimately decisions for each country to make.

The comments follow a number of security incidents involving athletes navigating Rio's nightlife at the end of their competition, including one involving Australian swimmer Josh Palmer.

The Aussie breaststroker was robbed of $1000, and was alone and disoriented near Copacabana Beach when an Australian businessman came to his aid.

The 25-year-old and his Dolphins teammates had gone to a nightclub on Tuesday evening.

Palmer separated from the group and was found at 2pm on Wednesday by the Australian man and a second businessmen, prompting team officials to place him on a curfew.

In another incident, American swimmer Ryan Lochte and three of his teammates claimed to have have been robbed by men posing as police while taking a taxi.

A British athlete was also robbed at gunpoint.

"You ask the question would we stop anyone travelling outside the village?" IOC spokesman Mark Adams said.

"No, it wouldn't be for me to make a blanket ban."

Rio communications director Mario Andrada said Games' officials had never denied there were problems in Rio and never tried to hide them.

But he said many other athletes had left the village and returned without issue.

"I live in Rio, my kids live in Rio and we go everywhere in the city," he said.

He also urged everyone to avoid drawing conclusions in the Lochte case while investigations continued.

The veracity of Lochte's account has been called into question with police unable to track down the cab driver or gather other information.

At the end of the day Andrada urged people to go easy on those athletes who found themselves in strife.

"They came here, they represented their country to the best of their abilities, they trained for four years and they competed under gigantic pressure," he said.

"Let's give these kids a break.

"They had fun, they made a mistake, life goes on, it's cool."

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