Gold medalist Olympic swimmer recognized amid Capitol mob
Klete Keller, a swimmer and two-time Olympic gold medal winner for the United States, was recognized by former teammates and coaches as one of the participants in the deadly pro-Trumb mob that overtook the Capitol last week.
Swimming news website SwimSwam on Monday was the first to report on Keller’s apparent presence at the riot, noting that at least a dozen people in the swimming community had identified him in video footage posted on social media by a reporter from a conservative outlet, Townhall.
In the clip, the man recognized as the 6-foot-6 Keller is seen wearing a U.S. Olympic team jacket with “USA” printed on the back and down the sleeves as he stands over a crowd that was pushing and shoving police officers attempting to clear the Capitol Rotunda.
Trump supporters fought back after Capitol Police moved in to retake the Rotunda. pic.twitter.com/4e7mNyqWZy
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) January 6, 2021
On Tuesday, The New York Times reported the story, noting that the video had circulated on social media among the swimming community in the past week, and several have already reported Keller, a former teammate of swimming superstar Michael Phelps, to authorities.
Both news outlets noted that while Keller has deleted his social media accounts, he previously used them to vocalize his support for President Trump.
Keller, 38, was on three U.S. Olympic teams, winning golds at the Athens Games in 2004 and at the Beijing Games in 2008 as a member of the 4 x 200-meter relay team. He also won silver in the event at the 2000 Sydney Games.
The Times reported that efforts to reach out to Keller were unsuccessful, noting that a call to a cellphone number listed under his name gave a message that he was not available.
Keller had most recently worked as a real estate agent in Colorado Springs with the agency Hoff & Leigh. While the company initially confirmed Keller’s employment to SwimSwam, Hoff & Leigh had removed Keller’s profile from its website by Monday night.
When contacted by the Times, a woman who answered the phone at the company Tuesday said, “We can’t give out any information on that at this moment.”
A spokesperson for Hoff & Leigh declined to comment when contacted by The Hill.
Dozens of people have been arrested in connection with last week’s siege on the Capitol. Five people died amid the chaos, including a woman who was shot by a Capitol Police officer and an officer who died after sustaining injuries while responding to the riot. Three others died after experiencing “medical emergencies” near the Capitol grounds.
No video released from Wednesday’s events appears to show Keller participating in any violent acts while at the Capitol.
One dozen members of the US national guard have been removed from their duties helping to secure Joe Biden’s inauguration after vetting – which included screening for potential ties to rightwing extremism, Pentagon officials said on Tuesday.
Klete Keller was somebody, a two-time Olympic gold medallist who swam in three Games. Then he was nobody, aimless, penniless and reduced to sleeping in his car. Now he is “Person 1” in court documents, identified by the FBI as a participant in the storming of the US Capitol and charged with federal crimes.
At 2:25 p.m. on Jan. 5, almost exactly 24 hours before the Capitol riots began, Steve Bannon posted a Facebook update: “TAKE ACTION. THEY ARE TRYING TO STEAL THE ELECTION,” the former senior White House adviser urged his followers in a Facebook group he ran called “Own Your Vote.”