PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Friday denied double standards in the expulsion of the most vocal critic in the Russian doping affair from the Pyeongchang Olympics, saying British IOC member Adam Pengilly had admitted his guilt.
Pengilly was ordered home late on Thursday and has since left the country after an altercation with a security guard at the IOC hotel.
The former Olympian, who twice competed at the Games in skeleton, repeatedy refused to stop for an accreditation control check and has apologised for his actions.
He has also written a letter to the guard, admitting his behaviour was wrong, but he has denied there was any physical contact.
Several Korean media outlets said the guard had suffered some minor scratches after falling as he tried to stop Pengilly.
“We had an incident here at the Games with security. We take that very gravely,” said IOC spokesman Mark Adams.
“We summoned him to see the ethics and compliance officer. He admitted that he made some errors, he has left the country now. We took very swift action,”
In a letter to the security guard, which was seen by Reuters, Pengilly apologised for not stopping after being asked for his accreditation at the IOC hotel in Pyeongchang and also for running away from the guard.
“I am sorry for running past you when you asked me to stop. I did not know that you fell over trying to chase me and I hope that you are fine,” Pengilly said in the letter.
Asked why the IOC had acted so swiftly in this case but took days or even weeks to act on other, more serious cases, Adams said Pengilly had admitted to his mistakes while several other cases were still under investigation with no final result yet.
“He accepted responsibility and accepted to leave,” Adams said. “He apologised to the guard.
“I am assuming there was verbal contact and actions not acceptable for the IOC. In terms of physical contact, my understanding is there was some physical contact.”
IOC President Thomas Bach apologised to the Pyeongchang Games chief at a Friday morning meeting and has offered to meet with the guard.
There could be more trouble ahead for Pengilly, who is an International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) vice president.
“With regret we have taken notice of the incident caused by the IOC Member and the IBSF Vice President, Mr. Adam Pengilly at the Olympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018,” the IBSF said in a statement.
“The IBSF Executive Committee will follow-up within its own Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct in this matter.”
Pengilly was the only IOC member to vote against his organisation’s decision in 2016 not to issue a blanket ban on Russians for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics over the extensive doping scandal.
Other members, past and present, have been linked or accused of more serious offences such as bribery and corruption, including the former Rio Games head Carlos Nuzman, suspended Namibian member Frank Fredericks and Ireland’s Patrick Hickey, who is listed as self-suspended following a Rio ticket scandal.
They all deny any wrongdoing.
Hickey was arrested by police at the IOC hotel in a dramatic dawn raid during the Games and spent several weeks in a notorious Rio prison before being released. The Association of National Olympic Committees provided Hickey with a $410,000 loan to make bail.
Editing by Sudipto Ganguly/Peter Rutherford