Dutch olympic medal contender booted from Rio for poor behavior
Yuri van Gelder's Olympic dream is over. The 33-year-old gymnast was put out of the Olympic team and sent home on Monday after he celebrated his successful qualification for the apparatus finals with an all-night party on Saturday.
The Dutch gymnast acknowledged his transgressions. According to the Volkskrant, he stumbled into the Dutch flat at Barra di Tijuca early on Sunday morning. According to AD, there are rumors that he was found smoking and drinking in the Holland Heineken House.
Van Gelder was sent home on Monday, but it was only announced around 2:00 a.m. (Dutch time) on Tuesday.
The leaders of national gymnastic union KNGU decided to refer the incident to the Dutch Olympic team. Maurits Hendriks, responsible for maintaining team discipline as Chef de Mission of the NOC*NSF, and Hans Grootjes, leader of the Dutch delegation, together made the difficult decision to end Van Gelder's 13 year dream of appearing at the Olympics.
"It was a very difficult decision. I find it terrible for Yuri, but this behavior is unacceptable", Hendriks said in the press statement. "It does not belong with participation in the Olympics or any sporting event whatsoever. Sport-wise its a loss, but with such a breach of the applicable values within TeamNL we have no other choice. We stand for excellence together, respecting all agreements and rules. Our athletes have an exemplary role and this behavior absolutely does not fit with it. Yuri left us no choice."
According to Grootjes, Van Gelder violated core values in his team. This decision was also made keeping in mind "maintaining an optimal performance environment", Grootjes said.
It took Van Gelder 13 years to reach the Olympics only to lose it all in one night, according to the Volkskrant. In 2009 Van Gelder was caught using cocaine at the National Championships in Rotterdam. Cocaine is on the doping list and he was suspended for a year. In 2010 he was set to make his comeback in the World Cup in the Netherlands, but left the team suddenly over "medical reasons of a personal nature". According to the newspaper, there were talks that he relapsed.
After his suspension and desertion Van Gelder, who was the world champion in rings in 2005, won no further medals.