BRUSSELS (AFP) — The Belgian federation banished track cyclist Gijs Van Hoecke from the Olympics on Thursday after he was photographed soaking wet and stumbling drunkenly down a London street, propped up by two friends.
The website for British paper The Daily Mail ran photographs of a number of Olympians leaving a London club late Tuesday night. Amongst them was Van Hoecke, the current Madison world champion.
Fifteenth in the omnium last weekend, the 20-year-old Van Hoecke apologized for his boozy night out, but the press pulled no punches.
“The gold medal in drinking and partying,” wrote Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.
“What happened is a pity. I am sorry, this should not have happened,” Van Hoecke told RTBF television. “But I also think that after two years of relentless work, I have the right to let my hair down. It would have been better if it had not happened here in London.
“I chose the wrong moment. Having said that, it was outside the Olympic Village, I wasn’t disturbing other athletes, they didn’t say anything about it.”