Olympic gold medalist swimmer Klete Keller has been charged for his part in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. We’ve got five things to know about the athlete and avid Trump supporter.
Klete Keller may not be a household name, but he’s probably one of the most accomplished people to so far be identified and charged among the Donald Trump supporters who breached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, leading to riots that left five people dead. The two-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer was charged in federal court on Jan. 13 with violent entry, obstructing law enforcement and disorderly conduct after he was identified by former USA swim team members and coaches. FBI agents then used video and other evidence to confirm his presence inside Rotunda, the Washington Post reports. We’ve got five things to know about Klete.
1. Klete was busted thanks to wearing his Team USA jacket with the official Olympic symbol that he wore to compete…and his massive height. Townhall reporter Julio Rosas shared numerous videos from amid the riot, and Klete stood out. His 6’6″ stature made him tower over fellow Trump supporters, and the U.S. Olympic swim team logo was right there on the left chest of his jacket. Klete also did not wear a mask or attempt to cover his face. His presence at the Capitol was first reported on Jan. 11 by the popular swimming related website SwimSwam.
Klete Keller wearing his USA swim jacket and fighting police pic.twitter.com/cccKFnJOff
— Cgsg52008 (@cgsg52008) January 12, 2021
2. Klete competed for the U.S.A. in three separate Summer Olympic games. He took part in the 2000 Sydney games, 2004’s games in Athens, Greece and his final Olympics appearance was at the 2008 Summer games in Beijing China.
3. Klete won gold medals alongside U.S. swimming legend and teammate Michael Phelps. Klete was on the Men’s 4 x 200 meter freestyle team with Phelps that took home gold in Athens. Klete also took home gold with the Olympics’ most gold-medal winning athlete in the same event at the 2008 Beijing games. Klete has a silver medal from the same event in Sydney, and has back to back bronze medals in the 400 freestyle from the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2004 Athens Games.
4. Klete’s life took a downward spiral after he stopped competing in swimming. During a podcast on Olympic Channel, Klete said he fell into a depression following the end of his swimming career. He said that he “struggled” with real life, eventually getting divorced, losing custody of his kids, losing his job and living out of his car for 10 months in 2014. He’s since worked to rebuild his life, crediting the “love and acceptance” from his family. Especially from his sister, 2004 Olympian Kalyn Keller, who took him in after his homeless stint.
5. Klete has lost his job over his involvement in the Capitol siege. He worked as a contractor in Colorado Springs, CO for the commercial real estate agency Hoff and Leigh where he “spends his time advising industrial landlords and sellers on maximizing the value of their industrial asset,” according to Swimswim’s Jan. 11 report. The site spoke to his employer that day, and “they seemed unaware of the Capitol video or of Keller’s possible involvement in the riot.” The following day the company released a statement to SwimSwam saying that Klete had resigned and that “Hoff & Leigh supports the right of free speech and lawful protest. But we cannot condone actions that violate the rule of law.”