Adam Pengilly, a former Olympic skeleton athlete and current International Olympic Committee member, has been told to leave PyeongChang after an altercation with a security guard in the host city on Thursday morning.
Pengilly, a 40-year-old Brit, allegedly injured the security guard while leaving a hotel. He has admitted to swearing while running past the guard.
The IOC released a statement later in the day apologizing for Pengilly’s behavior, thanking police, and announcing that Pengilly would be sent home.
“Following an interview with the IOC Ethics and Compliance officer, he will leave the Olympic Games and South Korea with immediate effect,” the statement read.
“We would like to once again thank all the authorities and the police who are doing an excellent job and deserve all our thanks. Mr. Pengilly has expressed his apologies to the security man involved.
The IOC also noted that Pengilly’s IOC term will expire on February 25, so additional punishment is likely unnecessary.
Pengilly, speaking to insidethegames, disputed the characterization of the incident as a fight:
“I tried to walk past a security guard when he told me to go the other way. He blocked my path, came close to me, and asked to see my accreditation. I showed it and, when he came even closer to me, I asked to see his manager.
“He wouldn’t take me to his manager and asked to take a photograph of my accreditation. This went on for 30 seconds or so, and then I ran past him. I heard him shout ‘stop’ but didn’t turn around or look back.
“I have since heard that he fell over and has evidently suffered scratches, but I did not hear him fall or shout out. At no point did I touch him and, although I have been told that footage makes it look as if I pushed him, this was not the case and, if anything, he was coming towards me.
“This was my mistake and my error and I am sorry – I should have turned around and I also apologize for swearing. I am sorry to the security guard. I have spoken about IOC members being held to a higher standard and I have let myself and others down.
“But, to reiterate, some are saying there was a fight or a scuffle – this was incorrect.”
Other reports, as Pengilly noted, suggest the incident was more violent. Per the Korea Times, the security guard said he confronted Pengilly because the IOC member was walking in a bus lane, not a road for pedestrians.
“The guard claimed Pengilly refused to comply with his instructions, dragged him about 30 meters and knocked him down,” the Korea Times reports. “The guard added that Pengilly threatened him, telling him he would never work in Korea anymore if he tells his supervisor about the incident.”
The altercation has reportedly been caught on camera.
Prior to Thursday, Pengilly was best known for his strong stance that Russia should have been completely banned from the 2016 Rio Olympics, and more generally that the IOC should have been tougher on Russia in the wake of widespread state-sponsored doping.
Coincidentally – or perhaps not – he is now receiving a harsher punishment than many IOC members who have done much worse.
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