Olympian Klete Keller surrenders, faces 3 charges for involvement in Capitol riots

Cassandra Negley
·Writer
·3 min read

Two-time Olympic gold medaling swimmer Klete Keller turned himself in to federal authorities on Thursday on charges connected to his alleged involvement in the riots at the U.S. Capitol last week.

Keller, who earned five medals at three Olympic games in the 2000s, was charged with three crimes in U.S. District Court in Denver and was released without bond, per the Arizona Republic.

The charges were unveiled Wednesday before he turned himself in and the judge detailed them and the maximum sentences during a court hearing on Thursday. Keller could also face additional charges.

Keller faces charges at court hearing

According to a U.S. District Court criminal complaint filed in Washington, D.C., the 38-year-old is charged with:

  • Obstructing law enforcement engaged in official duties incident to civil disorder

  • Knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority

  • Violent entry and disorderly conduct on capitol grounds

The first has a maximum penalty of five years in prison, Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty said at the hearing, via the Republic. Each of the charges carry a maximum $250,000 fine. Per the Washington Post, Keller could face up to 15 1/2 years in jail.

Keller is not allowed to leave Colorado except to visit his children in North Carolina. He worked as a commercial real estate agent until Tuesday when he was identified in photos from the Capitol riot.

Capitol riot video allegedly shows Keller

Klete Keller at the Olympics.
Klete Keller turned himself in on three charges related to the Capitol riots. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Keller was allegedly part of the mob that invaded the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday while Congress was certifying the 2020 election results won by Joe Biden. The invasion left five people dead.

SwimSwam first reported the news of Keller’s involvement in the attack and several people confirmed his identity to the New York Times. A video shows a tall man in a Team USA jacket who people identified as Keller inside the Capitol rotunda as police attempt to hold rioters back. At 6-foot-6 he is easy to spot in the crowd.

The Washington Post has also confirmed his identity in interviews with fellow Olympic medalists.

Keller’s social media accounts have been disabled. SwimSwam and friends of Keller’s who spoke with the Post reported that the accounts contained numerous posts supporting Donald Trump before they were taken down.

Keller’s Olympic history with Team USA

Keller helped Team USA win gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and 2008 Olympics in Bejing. The group included Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.

He has two bronze medals in the 400m freestyle from Athens and the 2000 Sydney Games. He also helped win silver in the 4x200m relay at Sydney.

Keller retired from competitive swimming in 2008.

The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee did not name Keller in a statement issued Wednesday, but addressed reports of an alumni athletes involved and “strongly condemned” the actions of rioters.

There have been calls for Keller to be stripped of the medals and former teammates are upset he wore Team USA garb to the riot.

The USOPC does not have the ability to take medals as only the International Olympic Committee can do that. It has taken them from athletes who have broken doping rules or other competitive regulations.

He reportedly struggled to adjust to life after the Olympics, per reports by the Post, the Associated Press and a 2014 story taken down from the USA Swimming website. He has made no comment on the charges.

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