Posts Tagged ‘Scotty Lago’

A Fond Adieu To Scotty Lago

Scotty Lago

Scotty Lago dedicated his bronze medal to injured teammates Kevin Pearce and Danny Davis. (Al Tielemans/SI)

Scotty Lago

Scotty Lago early Friday morning, courtesy of teammate Greg Bretz's Twitpic account. (Twitter @GregBretzz)

WHISTLER, British Columbia — First thing I thought when I saw the photos of U.S. snowboarder Scotty Lago that surfaced on TMZ: It’s a good thing he’s not Japanese — because all it took for Kazuhiro Kokubo’s home country to start freaking out on him was photos of his loosened tie and untucked shirt. Lago had his Team USA t-shirt pulled all the way up, and his bronze medal in the mouth of a girl who was mimicking something … perverse. Japan’s news wires would’ve melted down if that had been Kokubo’s medal.

After coming back to my hotel from the men’s free skate on Thursday, I saw the photo that Lago’s partner in crime, fellow U.S. snowboarder Greg Bretz, had posted to Twitter (displayed at right). It looked like Lago was having a grand old time with the bronze medal he’d won the previous night on the halfpipe — so much so that he could barely keep his eyes open.

To me, there was nothing shocking about that Twitpic. It was hilarious. You didn’t really expect a 23-year-old snowboard halfpipe star to behave himself on a night out in Vancouver after his medal ceremony, did you? When SI’s Sarah Kwak wrote about Lago’s bronze on Wednesday, he had even hinted about his post-halfpipe plans:

“You know, I’ve never partied with my family before,” Lago said thoughtfully. “My dad said he wanted to party. So, um, I’m definitely going to have to take that opportunity and party with him. … No holding back tonight.”

Apparently there was no holding back the next night, either. But when the TMZ photos hit the Web, U.S. officials were bound to overreact, and they did, having Lago issue a formal apology and “volunteer” to leave the Olympics:

Lago apologized to the U.S. Olympic Committee and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, which required athletes to attend a special ambassador program prior to the games to avoid potential publicity nightmares.

“Scotty Lago is a great athlete, but with that comes a responsibility of proper conduct, and his involvement in this situation is not acceptable,” said Association President and CEO Bill Marolt in a statement. “Scotty realizes his conduct was inappropriate. He has formally apologized and also made a decision to leave Vancouver today.”

Lago’s legacy, now that he’s gone from these Games, will be that of a bronze-medalist — and the first Olympic victim of the online paparazzo era, all for being nice enough to let a fan taste his hardware.

  • Published On Feb. 20, 2010 by lukewinn