BRUSSELS/LONDON ● The Belgian Olympic Committee has sent track cyclist Gijs Van Hoecke home from the 2012 London Games after pictures appeared in British newspapers of him looking drunk and being carried into a taxi after a night out in the city.
The pictures show Van Hoecke, who came 15th in the men’s omnium on Sunday, with his eyes closed being carried by two others, including team mate Jonathan Dufrasne, with his trousers and shirt covered in liquid.
British tabloid the Mirror light-heartedly awarded the gold medal for partying to Van Hoecke when it published the pictures of the latter stages of a night out in London’s Mahiki club, but Belgian officials said it was no laughing matter.
“The Belgian Olympic Committee and the Royal Cycling Federation deplore this incident, which fortunately did not affect life in the Olympic Village and athletes trying to rest ahead of their competition,” the sporting body said in a statement.
Van Hoecke, 20, had been sent home immediately, the statement said.
Belgian daily Het Laatste Nieuws said Van Hoecke regretted the incident.
“I made a big mistake. I’m happy my parents didn’t tell me off. They understand that I needed this,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.
Exclusions 2012 games
Aug 9 – The Belgian Olympic Committee sent track cyclist Gijs Van Hoecke home after pictures appeared in British newspapers of him looking drunk and being carried into a taxi after a night out in the city.
Aug 6 – U.S. judo competitor Nick Delpopolo was expelled after testing positive for marijuana, which he blamed on unwittingly eating a “hash brownie” that had been baked with the drug.
Aug 4 – Russian cyclist Victoria Baranova was expelled from the London Games following a July 24 positive test for testosterone in Belarus. Colombian 400 metres runner Diego Palomeque Echevarria tested positive for performance-enhancing testosterone.
Brazilian rower Kissya Cataldo da Costa was sent home by her own federation for failing a pre-Games dope test for the blood-boosting EPO. Belarussian hammer thrower Ivan Tsikhan and Moroccan runner Amine Laalou were also ruled out for anti-doping rule violations.
July 29 – Uzbek gymnast Luiza Galiulina was expelled for doping after testing positive on July 25 for the banned diuretic furosemide that can be used as a masking agent. St Kitts and Nevis sprinter Tameka Williams was withdrawn by her team after admitting to using a banned substance. She left the village and returned home.
July 28 – Albanian weightlifter Hysen Pulaku was kicked out after testing positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol on July 23.
July 26 – Greece’s world indoor high jump champion Dimitris Chondrokoukis withdrew after testing positive for stanozolol.
July 30 – Swiss football player Michel Morganella was expelled for tweeting a message that ‘gravely insulted and violated’ South Korea.
July 25 – Greece withdrew triple jumper Paraskevi Papachristou from the Games after she sent a tweet slammed as racist.