Gijs Van Hoecke's drunk pictures got the Olympian sent home to Belgium Thursday after the photos surfaced in British newspapers. After consulting with the leader of the Belgian's cycling team, the Belgian Olympic Committee decided he should come home from London.
Gijs Van Hoecke's drunk escapades included pictures of him leaving London's Mahiki club apparently unable to stand- team mate Jonathan Dufrasne had to help carry him out- and his shirt and pants were both covered in a liquid. Once the pictures of the 20-year-old were seen in U.K. publication The Mirror, the Olympic Committee gave Van Hoecke the boot.
"The Belgian Olympic Committee and the Royal Cycling Federation deplore this incident, which fortunately did not affect life in the Olympic Village and athletes trying to rest ahead of their competition," the sporting board said in a statement.
Despite the fact that the Olympian's time competing was over- Van Hoecke came in 15th in the men's omnium Sunday- the committee and the leader of the Belgian cycling squad sent him home.
The 20-year-old felt he had to "let off some steam," after the competition, he told Belgium's VRT radio and television network. He spent two long years training for the event. That was no excuse for his behavior though, he explained.
"It would have been better if I had not done that here … in London," he said, adding that he "needed" the break after the Olympics.
"I made a big mistake. I'm happy my parents didn't tell me off. They understand that I needed this," Van Hoecke was quoted by Belgian daily Het Laatste Nieuws.
Though the decision may seem extreme to some, Olympians shouldn't be surprised, as Games has been very strict about the behavior of their athletes in 2012. Voula Papachristou, a Greek triple-jumper, was banned from competing this year over a racist tweet she sent disparaging Africans.
"With so many Africans in Greece… At least the West Nile mosquitoes will at least eat homemade food!!!" as translated by the Keep Talking Greece website. She was subsequently kicked off the team, and later apologized for the "tasteless" joke.