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Dutch gymnast van Gelder expelled, sent home after alcohol escapade

Europe
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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - Dutch gymnast Yuri van Gelder was expelled by the Dutch Olympic team on Tuesday and told to return home after a night-time escapade involving alcohol.

The specialist on the rings - earning him the nickname "Lord of the Rings" - spent the night outside the Olympic village, returning only in the early morning hours. He admitted he had been out drinking, team officials said.

This was in violation of Dutch Olympic team rules that athletes who were still competing were to abstain from alcohol and must remain in the village. Van Gelder, 33, had advanced to the finals before his drinking tour.

The Chef de Mission of the Dutch team, Maurits Hendriks, defended the expulsion decision. "This is terrible for Yuri, but such behaviour is unacceptable," he said. The team had "no other choice" than to dismiss him.

It was not the first scandal involving van Gelder, who in 2005 was both world and European champion. In 2009 a doping control detected cocaine abuse, earning him a one-year suspension.

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