Olympics: Medal winners okay for a beer, as long as it comes after the fact

By Tim Walker

Bradley Wiggins went on a bender following his gold medal win. Photo / AP.
Bradley Wiggins went on a bender following his gold medal win. Photo / AP.

After winning Olympic gold in 2004, Bradley Wiggins went on a bender. He drank. He put on weight.

"I'd lived so religiously in the run-up to Athens," he admitted, "that I just wanted to feel normal again." Today the cycling superstar is older, wiser and weighed down not by body mass, but by medals. But that didn't prevent him enjoying a drink or six after his historic time-trial win.

"Blind drunk at the minute," he tweeted, sharing a photo of himself, vodka in hand.

Meanwhile, yesterday's gold winner, shooter Peter Wilson, declared: "I'm going to get very, very drunk and probably do something silly."

When a sportsperson's hard work and discipline are rewarded with victory, they're celebrated for getting sozzled.

But if they jeopardise their chances with a pre-game booze-up, they're a disgrace.

For every Darren Clarke downing a Guinness (as the golfer did after his British Open triumph in 2011), there's a footballer falling out of a nightclub.

The Olympics, perhaps not surprisingly, is a rich source of stories of both alcohol-fuelled celebration and drunken shame.

Australian rower Joshua Booth was arrested in the early hours of yesterday morning after allegedly causing "damage to a shop front"; his team failed to win a medal on Wednesday.

Nick Green, Australia's Olympic Commission chef de mission, said: "We understand there was alcohol involved."

Twas ever thus: at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, British runner Chris Brasher came first in the 3000m steeplechase, was disqualified for interfering with another runner and a day later reinstated and awarded the gold.

"After the appeal committee re-instated me," Brasher recalled, "I went for a liquid lunch with the British media.

"I recall being drunk on the podium and nearly falling flat on my face as I leaned forward, an IOC man attempting to hang a medal around my neck."

- Independent

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