Olympians Who Were Jailed for Crimes Related to Drug and Alcohol
The expulsion of Yuri van Gelder from the recently concluded Rio Olympics certainly left millions of his fans, who’d high hopes from the Dutch gymnast, dejected and disgruntled. Duly earning the sobriquet of “Lord of the Rings” for his stellar performances in gymnastics year after year, Gelder had pleaded guilty of consuming alcohol the night after participating in the preliminaries. He had qualified for the finals, but had to leave the Olympic Village after breaking the rules by drinking alcohol.
Gelder is not the only one to face the music in the world’s biggest sports festival. Many Olympians in the past have earned the dubious distinction of flirting with alcohol or other illicit substances and had even landed up in jails for breaking the law related to it. Here, we take a look at some of the Olympic athletes who were jailed for offenses relating to illicit drugs and alcohol:
Ricardo Williams: A professional U.S. boxer of repute, Williams won millions of hearts when he bagged the Light Welterweight silver medal in the 2000 Olympics. He was dubbed the most successful star to have come out of the 2000 Olympics after he turned pro in the following year. Everything was running fine until he was caught in the whirlpool of cocaine smuggling in 2005. His fans were crestfallen when they saw their star heading to the prison rather than winning the title belt that year. He was accused of smuggling cocaine to Cincinnati via FedEx. However, after spending 31 months in prison, he resumed his training and went on to win a few titles.
Clarence Hill: Hill had won the Heavyweight bronze medal in the 1976 Summer Olympics. He has been the first and the only Olympic medalist from Bermuda till date. Hill turned a pro in 1980 and had a few achievements under his belt. But he brought disrepute by dabbling in substance-related crime and robbery. He was sent to jail twice, once for possession of cocaine and the second time for armed robbery.
Nathan Baggaley: He is the quintessential honored Olympian who crossed over to ignominy by plunging into the world of drugs and never recovered. Baggaley was a kayak world champion and a two-time Olympic silver medalist to whom every Australian looked up to. In the 2004 Athens Olympics, Baggaley won the silver medal in the K-1 500 m. But he tarnished his image with his drug scandals jeopardizing his career. He eventually landed up in jail. His predicament started when he tested positive in 2005 for banned steroids and was banned for 15 months by Australian Canoeing. He pleaded guilty after being accused of carrying and manufacturing ecstasy in 2009. Though he was sentenced to nine years in jail, he managed an early release in 2011.
Patric Suter: A Swiss who had participated in the 2004 Athens Olympics, Suter is a retired male hammer thrower. Suter’s feat and personal best of 80.51 meters is still the Swiss record. He was also a five-time national champion. He ran into financial difficulties owing to his drug addiction. He was sentenced to life for the murder of a married couple in 2009.
Road to recovery
Substance abuse always spells trouble and addiction does not yield any good. Many greats from every discipline in life have fallen from grace due to their dalliance with drugs and alcohol. But addiction is not the end of the world. Treatment can help addicts spring back into the mainstream to lead healthy and normal lives.
If a loved one is grappling with alcoholism, contact the Florida Alcohol Addiction Helpline for an immediate assistance. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 866–220–5381 to connect to the best alcohol treatment centers in Florida. Our experts have the best advice on Florida alcohol treatment centers, where one can seek a comprehensive treatment and long-term sobriety.