Simon Plumb is a journalist for the Herald on Sunday

Strict booze ban for Kiwis in Olympic village

New Zealand athletes risk being sent home for breaches of policy.
An apartment in the highly secure Rio village. Picture / AP
An apartment in the highly secure Rio village. Picture / AP

Kiwi athletes risk being sent home from Rio if caught with booze inside the Olympic village.

Strict alcohol rules will be in place for all New Zealand athletes, including a ban on any drink inside the athletes' village.

They will also be forbidden from posting any photos, videos or comments on social media showing the use of alcohol.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee told the Weekend Herald that while bars serving alcohol have been in service during the Commonwealth Games before, Olympic villages have been alcohol-free for some time with no bars at either the London 2012 or Beijing 2008 Games.

No New Zealand athlete has ever breached the contractual agreement with the NZOC over alcohol. But if they did, the contract they sign says the NZOC or the Chef de Mission have a range of sanctions at their disposal, including termination of team membership, either temporary or permanent, and can also require someone to leave Games venues, including the village.

Chef de Mission Rob Waddell says the issue of alcohol is taken seriously to ensure athletes do their best and allow others to as well.

"We don't see alcohol as part of that high-performance environment in the village. There's no bar in the Olympic village ... and we won't be supplying alcohol either," Waddell told the Weekend Herald.

Waddell said the NZOC appreciates some athletes may want to celebrate and unwind during the Games and they are permitted to go off-site in Rio and apply "common sense" - particularly with so many concerns about security in Rio. "If athletes do want to zip out afterwards to have a drink, we understand that," Waddell said.

"If they want to go out [to] non-accredited venues, there are some basic understandings and education which has been passed on."

Australia has also served its athletes with a strict set of rules in regard to alcohol during the Games - including being in breach of guidelines if their behaviour includes staggering or falling down, being disorderly or argumentative, having rambling conversations or annoying fellow team members.

New Zealand's most successful Olympian, four-time kayak champion and five-time medallist Ian Ferguson, says alcohol was never part of his life in the village.

"You're not there to party, you're there to do a job," Ferguson said.

• 60,000 meals per day will be served at a main restaurant open 24 hours.

• Refreshment kiosks inside the village will also dish up Brazilian barbecue and coconut water.

• Facilities include swimming pools and top-spec gym gear.

• 300 buses will ferry athletes between the village and Olympic venues.

- NZ Herald

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