Klete Derik Keller (born March 21, 1982) is an American former competition swimmer who won medals at the 2000, 2004, and 2008 Summer Olympics in the 400-meter freestyle and the 4×200-meter freestyle relay.
Former Olympic swimmer Klete Keller indicted on seven charges over U.S. Capitol riots
Feb 11, 2021
Three-time Olympic swimmer Klete Keller has been indicted on seven charges related to the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol during the counting of electoral votes.
The charges in U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia include knowingly and unlawfully entering and remaining in a restricted area, interfering with official government business, engaging in disorderly conduct to disrupt a session of Congress and interfering with law enforcement during a civil disorder.
An FBI agent had written in a criminal complaint that he was able to identify Keller, who is 6-foot-6, in part because of his height. The agent also noted the Team USA jacket that Keller wore during the riot.
Keller, 39, won gold medals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics in the 4x200m freestyle relay, plus a silver medal in 2000 and bronze medals in 2000 and 2004.
Contributing: Tom Schad, USA TODAY
Author: Janet Oravetz (9News)Published: 1:07 PM MST February 11, 2021Updated: 4:54 PM MST February 11, 2021
WASHINGTON D.C., DC — A federal Grand Jury returned a seven-count indictment against Klete Keller, a Colorado resident and former Olympic swimmer who is accused of participating in the failed insurrection at the US Capitol on Jan. 6.
Charges against Keller now include:
- Civil disorder
- Obstruction of an official proceeding, and aiding and abetting
- Entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds
- Disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds
- Impeding passage through the Capitol Grounds or buildings
- Parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building
He had originally faced just three charges related to his alleged participation in the Capitol riots.
Klete Keller: why did an Olympic champion invade the US Capitol?
The swimmer won gold medals for his country in Athens and Beijing. Then his patriotism took an ugly turn
Klete Keller was somebody, a two-time Olympic gold medallist who swam in three Games. Then he was nobody, aimless, penniless and reduced to sleeping in his car. Now he is “Person 1” in court documents, identified by the FBI as a participant in the storming of the US Capitol and charged with federal crimes.
Amid the militia gear and Maga paraphernalia on display during the 6 January riot at the heart of American government, footage shows a bearded man in the Rotunda who stands out for his height and his clothes. He wears an officially-branded jacket with a United States Olympic Team patch and USA on the left sleeve and the back.
The choice of apparel, with the Olympic rings logo and Stars and Stripes flag, seemed to symbolise the perversion of patriotism among insurrectionists loyal to Donald Trump who hold the warped belief that it is their duty to agitate for the overturning of a legitimate democratic election. Aspirational emblems appropriated and debased as the president, his enablers and his acolytes crumpled a set of ideals to fit a dishonest and deranged narrative.
Then the tall man was identified by the website SwimSwam as Keller, a 38-year-old who grew up in Arizona and won gold in the 4x200m freestyle relays in Athens and Beijing. A sense of bafflement has not receded since.
Keller, who lives 1,700 miles away from Washington in Colorado Springs, was arrested last week on charges of disorderly conduct, obstructing law enforcement and illegally entering a restricted area. He was released after an initial appearance in federal court in Denver.
He has not commented in public, so the reason for his actions during the deadly demonstration-turned insurrection on the day Congress met to certify Joe Biden’s election victory are unclear. What is certain is that, like many athletes before him, he found it hard to adjust to ordinary life after an extraordinary sporting career.
His marriage collapsed, he was unable to hold down a series of sales jobs and he struggled to afford a place to live while paying child support for his three kids. He felt bitter and angry, losing motivation and gaining weight as he ate and drank to excess. He said his money problems prompted him to live in his Ford Fusion after his divorce in 2014. He would squeeze his 6ft 6in frame into the car and try to grab some sleep in Walmart parking lots.
“I found the real-world pressure much more intimidating and much more difficult to deal with because I went from swimming to having three kids and a wife within a year and so the consequences of not succeeding were very, very real and if I didn’t make a sale or if my manager was ticked off with me, or If I got fired – oh shoot, you have no health insurance. It’s very concrete,” he told an Olympic Channel podcast.
He was in Washington for a pro-Trump rally last November after Biden’s election and wrote on his now-deleted Facebook page that the result was a “brazen assault on our republic and our way of life,” according to the New York Times.
No evidence has emerged to suggest he was involved in fighting or looting at the Capitol. “I don’t think he went there with any malicious intent. I hope there’s a more sophisticated story there,” Bremer said.
Now he has lost his job and potentially faces a long prison sentence. “There’s really no limit to how bad things can get, I learnt that. It can always get worse,” he reflected on the podcast. “You have to maintain discipline throughout life in order to stay afloat.”