Bach critic expelled from Olympics after security run-in
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — An IOC member expelled from the Pyeongchang Olympics over a run-in with a security guard is also one of the only members openly critical of President Thomas Bach’s move to allow Russian athletes to compete at the games.
Adam Pengilly, a vice president of the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, apologized and acknowledged running through the security checkpoint at his hotel and using coarse language on Thursday. He denied accusations that he pushed the guard in the incident.
Pengilly, who is British, didn’t support the decision allowing Russians to compete in Pyeongchang in the wake of a massive doping scandal.
Pressed to explain why the British official was expelled while other IOC members facing investigations are allowed to take part in activities in Pyeongchang, International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams on Friday said it was because the incident happened during the games and because Pengilly had acknowledged his behavior.
“Because this involved ... security during the games,” Adams said. “It’s obviously very important for the operations. All the other cases are in process, being discussed.”
Adams repeatedly described the security guard involved as a volunteer, but officials later said it involved a paid security guard.
Bach declined to speak to The Associated Press on Friday about the decision.
Pengilly, who competed in skeleton at the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics, has apologized to the organizers and written an apology to the guard.
The International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation issued an apology to Pyeongchang officials for Pengilly’s behavior.
While Pengilly has denied making physical contact with the guard, Adams and Pyeongchang spokesman Sung Baik-you said he did.
Both men said they had not seen closed-circuit evidence of the incident, and that footage has not been made public.
Adams said Bach made an “unreserved apology” to local South Korean organizers and had asked to meet with the guard.
The IOC has been much slower to act on other ethics cases involving Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad as-Sabah of Kuwait and Alex Gilady of Israel.
Sheikh Ahmad has been identified as a co-conspirator in a United States corruption investigation. He is also the subject of an investigation by FIFA, the international governing body for soccer.
He has denied any wrongdoing.
Sheikh Ahmad heads the powerful Association of Olympic Committees, a grouping of more than 200 national Olympic federations.
Adams said “our ethics commission is aware of this case” but Adams added that Sheik Ahmad “hasn’t been charged.”
Gilady has faced accusations of sexual harassment and assault. He denies the charges but has stepped away from business positions in Israel.
Adams said “we are aware of that (Gilady) situation. We take note there is on-going legal action at the moment.”
Adams said both cases were being investigated by the IOC’s chief ethics and compliance officer Paquerette Girard Zappelli, who handled the expulsion of Pengilly.
At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, IOC member Patrick Hickey was arrested by Brazilian authorities on charges of ticket scalping. He denies the charges.
Carlos Nuzman, the president of the Rio organizing committee, quit last year as an honorary IOC member after being charged by Brazilian prosecutors with corruption, money laundering, tax evasion and running a criminal organization.
He was held in prison for several weeks and is fighting the charges.
For more AP Olympic coverage: https://www.wintergames.ap.org