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-Trump 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. 


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 TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE

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 initially declined to comment when contacted by The Hill Tuesday, though the company later released a statement saying that Keller, an independent contractor, "resigned from the company," effective immediately. 

"Hoff & Leigh supports the right of free speech and lawful protest but we cannot condone actions that violate the rule of law," Hoff & Leigh added in the statement. "We pride ourselves on our deeply held core values of family, loyalty, community and stewardship. We continue to stand by these values."

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.

-- Updated 01/13/2021 6:35 p.m.