Gold Medalist Olympian Charged

Former Olympic swimmer Klete Keller has been sentenced to six months of home detention and three years of probation for his participation in the January 6th Capitol riot. The charges against Keller stemmed from his role in storming the U.S. Capitol during the certification of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.

Keller, who pleaded guilty in September, had faced 21 to 27 months in jail for his actions that day. According to court records, he admitted to obstructing Congress’s certification, pushing and yelling at officers, and making profane comments about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

In addition, Keller confessed to throwing away the distinctive U.S. Olympic team jacket he was wearing and destroying his phone and memory card with photos and videos from inside the Capitol.

The former Olympic swimmer was identified by investigators through screengrabs from a viral video, his driver’s license, and the recognizable jacket, as well as his height of 6 feet 6 inches. Prosecutors stated that Keller had resisted attempts to remove him from the Capitol, using physical force to break free from an officer’s grip.

In court, Keller expressed remorse for his actions, stating, “I have no excuse for why I am in front of you today. I understand my actions were criminal, and I am fully responsible for my conduct.” He also surrendered willingly to authorities about a week after returning home to Colorado.

Keller represented the United States in the 2000, 2004, and 2008 Olympic Games, winning a total of five medals – two gold medals and a silver in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay and two individual bronze medals in the 400 free. He swam alongside other Olympic legends such as Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. His sister was also an Olympic swimmer.

Keller’s involvement in the January 6th riot came as a shock to the swimming community, who had known him as a talented and dedicated athlete. However, his attorney argued that the political climate and his mental health struggles played a significant role in his actions that day.

Despite this, U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss stated that “there is no excuse for any American to breach the United States Capitol.” He added that Keller’s involvement was “particularly troubling” given his past accomplishments as an athlete.

Keller’s sentence of six months home detention and three years probation is significantly lighter than the 21 to 27 months in jail he could have faced. Judge Moss noted that his voluntary surrender, lack of criminal history, and acceptance of responsibility were all factors in his decision.

In addition to his sentence, Keller has also been ordered to pay $6,600 in restitution for damages incurred during the riot. He will also need to complete 200 hours of community service and undergo mental health counseling as a condition of his probation.

As a former Olympic athlete, Keller’s actions have brought shame upon himself and have tainted his prestigious career. However, the consequences of his involvement in the Capitol riot could have been much more severe, and it is now up to him to use this as an opportunity to reflect and learn from his mistakes.