Belgian cyclist Gijs van Hoecke became an international Olympic sensation for all the wrong reasons this week when drunken pictures of the athlete showed up on various Belgian newspapers and eventually landed on a celebrity and tabloid newspaper.
In the photos, Hoecke is obliterated and being carried out of a club by two of his teammates. Eyes barely open and covered in a yet to be revealed substance, the Olympian was helped along as he struggled to keep his balance behind closed eyes.
The 20-year-old athlete had just competed and finished 15th in the omnium competition, and he also rode in Belgium’s ninth-place team finish.
Following the incident, Gijs van Goecke said he was just “letting off some steam.”
Speaking to a newspaper in his home country, Gijs said he was just happy his home life wasn’t made miserable by his decision.
“I made a big mistake,” he told a Belgian newspaper. “I’m happy my parents didn’t tell me off. They understand that I needed this.”
In the meantime, Gijs was sent home after the Belgian Olympic Committee examined the photograph and determined that Hoecke was not properly representing the country on the international stage. According to the agency:
‘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 key words there should have been “did not affect life in the Olympic Village,” after all, he’s a 20-year-old kid who just competed on the world stage.