Dutch Gymnast Yuri 'Lord of the Rings' van Gelder Kicked Out of Olympics for Drinking
Yuri van Gelder, the Dutch gymnast who earned the nickname “Lord of the Rings” for his strong performance on the event, will leave the Rio Olympics early – for consuming alcohol.
The 33-year-old is going home after the Netherlands Olympic Committee found him guilty of breaking a no-alcohol rule set in place for Dutch athletes.
The athlete allegedly left the Olympic Village after performing at the men’s gymnastics preliminaries on Saturday where he qualified for the finals of the rings event. When he returned on Sunday, van Gelder admitted that he drank on his night out.
“It was a very difficult decision for us to make. This is terrible for Yuri, but at such a breach of the values within TeamNL, we have no other choice. We stand for excellence with respect to all agreements and rules. Our athletes have an exemplary standard and this behavior is absolutely unacceptable. Yuri has left us no choice,” Netherlands Olympic Committee spokesman Maurits Hendriks said in a statement as translated by Yahoo! Sports.
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Van Gelder’s Rio suspension comes after a 2009 incident in which the gymnast was caught taking cocaine three days before national championships – rendering him ineligible for the 2012 Olympics.
The athlete has not released a comment about leaving Brazil, instead posting on his website that he “wants to process the events in a confined environment first before releasing a full statement,” reports The Washington Post.