Dutch gymnast Yuri van Gelder qualified for the finals in the rings event after a solid performance on Saturday. Then, his performance that evening wound up disqualifying him from the 2016 Summer Olympics altogether.
Van Gelder was sent home by the Netherlands delegation after spending an evening drinking alcohol outside the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro. Team handler Maurits Hendriks confirmed the decision early on Tuesday morning.
"It's been a very difficult decision for us to make," said Hendriks. "I hate to do it to Yuri, but this behavior is unacceptable. That does not belong to participation in the Olympics or any sporting event whatsoever. This is a loss, but [his actions are a] breach of the applicable values within TeamNL. We have no other choice."
This isn’t van Gelder’s first infraction with his team. The 2005 rings world champion was suspended from competition in 2009 after using cocaine three days before the Dutch national championships. As a result, he was forced to sit out the 2012 Olympics and was fired from his job in the nation’s military.
This latest scandal is a major blow to what may have been van Gelder’s final shot at an Olympic medal. The Dutch media, for its part, is taking the suspension well. They’ve already replaced his "Lord of the Rings" nickname with a more fitting one: "Lord of the Drinks."