Van Gelder to Sue Dutch Over Rio Expulsion
(9 votes, average 3.67 out of 5)



Dutch gymnast Yuri van Gelder plans to take immediate legal action against the Dutch Olympic Committee, which expelled him from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on Monday for violating the team's code of conduct.

Dutch gymnast Yuri van Gelder plans to take immediate legal action against the Dutch Olympic Committee, which sent home from the Olympic Games in Rio on Monday for violating the team's code of conduct.

He plans to continue training in the hope he will be allowed to return to Rio in time to compete in next Monday's still rings final, his attorney Cor Hellingman said Wednesday.

"Yuri will now fully focus on its potential," Hellingman said. "Yuri understands that the public wants to be informed and want to hear his story, but he hopes people understand his situation and calls especially the media to leave him in peace as much as possible in the coming days."

Van Gelder, 33, competed during the men's qualification on Saturday in Rio and qualified to the still rings final. According to the Dutch Olympic Committee, he left the Olympic Village on Saturday night and did not return until Sunday morning, at which time he admitted he had consumed alcohol. The Royal Dutch Gymnastics Federation (KNGU) reported the incident to the Dutch Olympic Committee, whose president stated he had "no choice" but to expel the athlete from the Olympics.

According to reports, the Dutch athletes in Rio were told not to leave the Olympic Village for safety purposes. His manager, Orlando van den Bosch, said the Dutch Olympic team's rules were only issued verbally and not in writing.

However, according to Dutch broadcaster NOS, Dutch team sources have confirmed that van Gelder was drunk and caused a commotion when he returned to the Olympic Village at 6 a.m. on Sunday. This supports the earlier statements from KNGU technical director Hans Gootjes, who said the impetus for the KNGU to report the incident was the concern that van Gelder was at risk of disturbing other athletes, including Dutch gymnasts who were still to compete in finals.

According to a report in Rotterdam newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, van Gelder missed training on Sunday morning and did not appear until 3 p.m.. The newspaper reported he had previously violated the rule not to leave the Olympic Village one other time, and there had been other similar incidents over the years at other competitions where he breached the code of conduct.

Algemeen Dagblad reports that his coach, Bram van Bokhoven, told the KNGU on Sunday that he had had enough with van Gelder.

Van Gelder returned home to the Netherlands on Tuesday, according to reports. His manager has described him as "tremendously stricken and broken" after being sent home from Rio, where he finally reached the Olympics after 12 years of failing to qualify.

"We know what Yuri already has done for years and left to perform at the highest level," van den Bosch said. "Finally he got to the Games, he ended up in the final and was convinced that he had medal chances. Yuri will first have to deal with this blow and tell his story later."

Van Gelder's expulsion will allow French gymnast Danny Rodrigues Pinheiro, 10th in qualification, to move into the eight-man final. Ukraine's Igor Radivilov, ninth in qualification, already moved into the final after the leg injury to French gymnast Samir Aït Saïd on vault.

Van Gelder was previously suspended from the Dutch team for a year after testing positive for cocaine during the Dutch national championships in June 2009. He returned to training and rejoined the Dutch team at the 2010 World Championships in Rotterdam, but was withdrawn from the team. The KNGU held a press conference and stated the rings specialist had admitted cocaine use again, something van Gelder later denied.

Van Gelder's year-long suspension in 2009 meant that, according to then-rules in place by the International Olympic Committee, he would be disqualified from competing at the 2012 Olympics. Known as the "Osaka Rule," this rule stated that any athlete suspended for more than six months for a drug violation would be ineligible to compete at the next Olympics Games. However, athletes issued a legal challenge to this rule and the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned it in 2011.

Van Gelder did not qualify to the 2012 Olympics, however. As a specialist, he would have needed to win a medal in event finals at the 2011 World Championships, but he finished fifth on rings.

In April, the Dutch men qualified a full team to the Olympics for the first time since the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam.

Van Gelder's expulsion had dominated Dutch coverage of the Olympics and even overshadowed coverage of other Dutch athletes at the Games. Van Gelder, whose nickname was "Lord of the Rings," was widely mocked on Twitter with the hashtag #LordoftheDrinks.

Comments (1)add comment

Rachel T said:

0
No sympathy from me
In my opinion, this was strike three with the two charges of cocaine use prior. The coaches did the correct and appropriate thing. Just the thought of him taking legal action in my opinion is pathetic. As important of this once in a lifetime opportunity was, he didn't treat it as such. He gets no sympathy from me and the decision of removing him from the Olympics was the right one.
 
August 10, 2016
Votes: +1

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