Olympic gold medalist swimmer sentenced for role in Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Klete Keller, an Olympic gold medalist swimmer, was sentenced to six months of home detention and three years probation for his participation in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

Keller pleaded guilty in September 2021 to a felony charge for storming the U.S. Capitol and faced 21 to 27 months in jail.

Keller acknowledged in court records he tried to obstruct Congress’s certification of President Biden’s Electoral College victory, brushed away officers who tried to remove him from the Capitol Rotunda and yelled profane comments about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer as he stood near officers wearing riot gear.

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U.S. swimmer Klete Keller smiles after winning the men’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay swimming heat at the National Aquatics Center at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. (AFP Photo/Greg Wood.  )

He also acknowledged throwing away the distinctive U.S. Olympic team jacket he wore during the riot and destroying his phone and memory card containing photos and videos he took inside the Capitol.

Investigators said they identified him based on screengrabs from a viral video, his driver’s license and because of the jacket and his 6-foot, 6-inch frame.

He resisted efforts to remove him from the Capitol, ripping an elbow away and shaking off a police officer, prosecutors said.

“I have no excuse for why I am in front of you today,” he said in court. “I understand my actions were criminal and that I am fully responsible for my conduct.”

Protesters outside of the Capitol

Trump supporters occupy the west front of the Capitol and the inauguration stands Jan. 6, 2021.  (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

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Keller surrendered to authorities about a week after returning home to Colorado.

Keller competed in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics. He won two gold medals and a silver in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay and two individual bronze medals in the 400 free. 

Keller swam alongside Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

Klete Keller, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, and Peter Vanderkaay

Klete Keller, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Peter Vanderkaay of the U.S. celebrate after they won the men’s swimming 4×200-meter freestyle relay final Aug. 17, 2004, during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. (Nick Laham/Getty Images)

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His sister was also an Olympic swimmer.

At least five people died during the Jan. 6 riot, including a Capitol Police officer.

Fox News’ Michael Ruiz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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