Belgian Olympian, Gijs van Hoecke, Sent Home After Drinking Binge
It seems not everyone's suited to Olympic size pressure. A lot of Olympians release tension after competition by engaging in a drink or two. However, one Belgian Olympian took it to new heights. After engaging in a major drinking spree, Gijs van Hoecke earned a ticket back home instead of a gold medal.
All might have been fine had pictures of the athlete not surfaced in The Mirror. The published photo shows one of his teammates, Jonathan Dufrasne, trying to carry the drunken cyclist out of a local London hangout—the club Mahiki.
The tabloid tried to make light of the situation by awarding Gijs gold for his partying skills. However, it seems the Belgian Olympic Committee didn't find any part of the incident funny. Although it wasn't voiced out right, some people believe the committee felt van Hoecke was a disgrace. Others chalked it up to "boys being boys".
What the Belgian Olympic Committee did say was this, "(We) deplore this incident...." They went on to express gratitude that Hoecke's actions didn't disturb life in the Olympic Village nor damage other athletes. Then they promptly sent their fallen icon back home.
The Olympics offer a pressure filled environment—one that many younger athletes will find difficult. That's more than likely all that happened with regard to van Hoecke. While his actions are disturbing, they aren't unusual. All one has to do is think about the thousands of college students who do the same thing every year.
While using alcohol isn't the most ideal way to relieve stress, it is a common one. The Belgian cyclist didn't do anything that others before him haven't tried. He just got caught doing it.
The Belgian Olympian posted his own comment via Het Laatste Niews, "I made a big mistake." He also noted he was glad his parents didn't hold it against him. Hopefully his fellow athletes won't either.