After Yuri van Gelder of the Netherlands made a successful Olympic debut by qualifying for the still rings final, he perhaps thought he deserved a chance to unwind after Saturday’s preliminary round of competiton.
The Dutch Olympic Committee disagreed, and now van Gelder’s Olympic experience is over.
33-year-old van Gelder left the Olympic Village on Saturday night and when didn’t return until Sunday, when he admitted to consuming alcohol. Both are against his team’s code of conduct, and on Monday the Dutch Olympic Committe announced that he’s been expelled from the Rio Games.
His spot in the still rings final will go to France’s Danny Pinheiro Rodrigues. He’s the second replacement athlete added to the final: after France’s Samir Ait Said broke his leg in qualifications, Ukraine’s Igor Radivilov took his place.
A three-time world championship medalist on the still rings, Van Gelder doesn’t have a spotless record when it comes to mixing sports with substances. In 2009, the Royal Dutch Gymnastics Federation banned him for a year after he tested positive for cocaine at the Dutch national championships. When he returned in 2010, he got in trouble again and withdrew from that year’s world championships after admitting to using cocaine again.
International Gymnast Magazine reported that a spokesperson for the Dutch Olympic team said, “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.”
His teammates will continue to compete. Bart Deurloo will appear in the individual all-around final on Wednesday, while the “Flying Dutchman,” Epke Zonderland, will attempt to repeat as Olympic champion on high bar.