26 Aug 2008

Olympic swimmers disgraced after prank backfires

6:05 am on 26 August 2008

Three New Zealand swimmers have been kicked out of the Games village in Beijing and missed a final team function after a prank backfired on them.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee says a young team member had too much to drink at a social function on Monday. He had apologised, and the committee considered the matter closed.

However, an embarrassing photograph of him sitting on a toilet was circulated to other team members in "a fit of high spirits".

Dean Kent, Corney Swanepoel and Cameron Gibson were suspended for what the committee has called "inappropriate and foolhardy behaviour" and spent their final night in Beijing at a hotel near the village.

They are said to be remorseful and have apologised to team management.

The 98-strong New Zealand team returns to Auckland on Wednesday morning, after which the committee and Swimming New Zealand will decide if any further disciplinary action will be taken.