First it was the soccer and rugby players, drinking and puking on the flight back to Sydney. Now a group of Australian hockey stars has been confined to their rooms in Tokyo’s Olympic Village after being busted for a 3 a.m. “beer run” that breached COVID-19 regulations.
The unidentified athletes were drowning their sorrows after the Kookaburras lost to Belgium in the gold-medal match of the men’s hockey tournament on Thursday, but ran out of beer in the early hours. Desperate for a bit more of the amber nectar, they headed off to a convenience store outside the Olympic bubble.
Embarrassed team chiefs confirmed that a group of three hockey players had left the Village at 3 a.m. and came back 20 minutes later with two cases of beer. Two others left around the same time, only to come back empty-handed.
Ian Chesterman, the Australian chef de mission, told Seven News that the athletes were all wearing masks and no complaints had been received about their actions. The athletes “self-reported” the breach on Friday morning and had all since tested negative for COVID-19.
“While I understand the players’ disappointment following their loss in the gold medal match, we have been abundantly clear about the expectations of this team while we’re in Tokyo,” Chesterman said.
“The rules are there to keep the team safe and for us to keep our commitment to the Games’ organizers and to the Japanese people.”
It is just the latest alcohol-related incident the Australian Olympic team has had to deal with. Members of the rowing team were forced to apologize after a post-competition drinking spree at the Olympic Village that ended up with holes being smashed through walls and the disappearance of a life-size emu and kangaroo.
Meanwhile, members of Australia’s Olympic rugby sevens team were ordered to attend alcohol counseling sessions after Japan Airlines officially complained about their behavior on a flight to Sydney last week on which maskless athletes drank to excess and even vomited in the aircraft toilets.
The counseling order came after some of the rugby players involved took offense at the airline’s complaint. “We we were rubbish on the field, but we can hold our alcohol,” one insisted, while another asked: “Who cares who fucking threw up? It’s not World War III!”
The hockey players involved in the latest breach will head back to Australia on Saturday, although not yet back to their family. They are due to fly to the northern city of Darwin from where they will be taken to a disused mining camp for two weeks of mandatory quarantine. Rules at the Howard Springs camp are even stricter than in the Tokyo Olympic village: strictly no alcohol and no mixing with teammates.