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Snowboarder Kicked Out After Trashing Hotel

Associated Press
Thursday, February 12, 1998; 8:44 a.m. EST




 Martin Freinademetz was kicked out of the Olympics after a $4,000 switchboard was damaged during a drunken party at the Shiga Kogen Prince Hotel, where snowboard athletes and officials are staying.
(Andreas Altwein/AFP)
NAGANO, Japan — An Austrian snowboarder was kicked out of the Olympics after a $4,000 switchboard was damaged during a drunken party at a team hotel.

Martin Freinademetz said his Olympic accreditation was pulled after the incident early Tuesday at the Shiga Kogen Prince Hotel, where snowboard athletes and officials are staying.

"We had a party, we had fun, something got broken,'' Freinademetz told reporters today.

"It's not cool, but it happened, and to throw somebody out of the most important sports games doesn't make sense to me,'' said Freinademetz, who finished seventh overall in the men's giant slalom on Sunday and was not scheduled to compete in any other events.

His comments came shortly before Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati gained back the giant slalom gold medal he had lost a day earlier because he positive for marijuana.

Shinsuke Nagasawa, a Nagano organizing committee spokesman, said he was called to the hotel after a party in which about three dozen people, including athletes, were drinking in the lobby.

A beer can was thrown and spilled onto the computerized switchboard, he said.

Freinademetz apologized Wednesday and offered to pay for the damages to the switchboard.

"It happened while he was drunk, and after all he's an Olympic athlete, so we are not thinking of taking any further action,'' Nagasawa said, adding that Freinademetz was not kicked out of the hotel.

At least one coffee cup was broken and some white tabletops were marked on with a felt-tip pen, he said.

Austrian deputy team leader Manuela Volvoda told the German news agency SID that Freinademetz's credential was canceled "so he can't go anywhere.''

"We don't want any problems if he decides to act up,'' Volvoda said.

Freinademetz told reporters he was upset that his credential had been canceled abruptly.

"It's not right and it's not fair to throw someone out of the village without even talking to them before,'' he said, noting that he was refused entry to the Main Press Center.

Freinademetz questioned whether officials were punishing him more severely because he was a snowboarder.

"Is it against snowboarding or is it against me as a person? I've got a lot of enemies,'' he said. "On one side they say they want to push snowboarders, but then they push us down.''

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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