Dutch gymnast Yuri van Gelder sent home from Olympics for drinking

Yuri van Gelder several years ago. Photo: Raymond Nieuwenburg via Wikimedia Yuri van Gelder several years ago. Photo: Raymond Nieuwenburg via Wikimedia

HOLLAND -  Dutch gymnast Yuri van Gelder has been sent home from the Rio Olympics for ‘overstepping the norms and values’ of the Dutch team and the gymnastics association.

Van Gelder, 35, was taking part in his first Olympics and had qualified for the final of the rings.

According broadcaster NOS, he left the Olympic village on Saturday night and did not return until the early hours of the morning.

He had been drinking and this is against team rules, NOS said. ‘It was a very difficult decision.

This is terrible for Yuri but his behaviour is unacceptable,’ chief of mission Maurits Hendriks said in a press release.

TeamNL has no option but to send him home, the statement said. ‘Our athletes have to set an example and this behaviour did not.’ Van Gelder failed to qualify for the last three Olympics and was suspended for cocaine use after failing a national competition drugs test in 2009.

Law professor Marjan Olfers told RTL that athletes are not given a contract stating that they may not drink. ‘We do not know precisely what happened with Yuri,’ she said. ‘But you can’t just send someone home, so I would imagine they have had legal advice.’

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