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Walking papers for snowboarder

By Scott Thurston
Globe Staff / February 20, 2010

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - American snowboarder Scotty Lago, who picked up a bronze medal in the men’s halfpipe Wednesday night, picked up and went home yesterday after inappropriate pictures of him surfaced on the Internet.

Lago volunteered to leave Vancouver after the celebrity website tmz.com posted two photos that appear to be taken in a crowd on a public street. The first shows Lugo, dressed in a Team USA shirt, smiling as a woman kneels and kisses the medal hanging at his waist. The other shows the woman biting his medal.

Lago, a 22-year-old native of Seabrook, N.H., apologized to US Olympic Committee officials and the US Ski and Snowboard Association.

“At this point, no actions have been taken against Scotty,’’ USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in a statement.

The US Ski and Snowboard Association has emphasized athletes’ behavior in the wake of embarrassing incidents at the 2006 Turin Games, including the dismissal of freestyle aerialist Jeret Peterson for a drunken altercation during a post-competition celebration.

Before the Beijing Games, the USOC began its “Ambassador Program’’ that athletes are required to complete before they travel to the Games.

White’s on board
Shaun White said he’d consider adding slopestyle to his schedule if it were brought onto the Olympic program for the Sochi Games. “I think I’d love to compete in both,’’ White said.

Slopestyle snowboarding is among the sports being considered for inclusion in 2014, as the IOC continues trying to bring more exciting, younger-skewing sports into the fold.

In slopestyle, riders do huge tricks while going down the mountain and through “features’’ - rails, big jumps, and bumps. At ski resorts, slopestyle is widely thought of as an easier way for amateur snowboarders to do cool tricks than on a halfpipe.

NBC would love to keep a guy like White around for more than just one night. White capped a great day for the Americans Wednesday by throwing his newly patented trick, “The Tomahawk,’’ on his second run, even though he already had the gold sealed up.

White is the five-time slopestyle champion at the Winter X Games - the biggest competitive stage for the event. With the Olympics on his schedule, he skipped slopestyle this year to reduce the risk, and so he could focus on his new trick.

Swiss driver out
Swiss driver Daniel Schmid withdrew from the two-man and four-man bobsled competitions “for safety reasons’’ after two practice crashes.

Schmid will not compete in either event, and the decision for him to drop out was made jointly between the Swiss team and bobsled officials.

Schmid, who was not a medal favorite, overturned his sled during yesterday’s first training session. His brakeman, Juerg Egger, was injured and taken from the Whistler Sliding Centre track in an ambulance, but was not seriously injured. It was unclear if Schmid was hurt in the crash.

Hard landing
Patrik Jaerbyn turned in the air in a perilous crash during the super-G, leaving the 40-year-old Swede with a concussion and bloody face. Jaerbyn was taken to a Vancouver hospital and could be released this afternoon, team physician Per Liljeholm said. Jaerbyn caught a gate near the end of his run and was thrown in the air before landing heavily on his back. He bounced on the icy surface and slid to a stop by the side of the course . . . Slovenian cross-country skier Petra Majdic has been ruled out for the season with four broken ribs and a collapsed lung, injuries she sustained before her bronze-medal performance in Wednesday’s individual classical sprint. Majdic crashed during training but insisted on competing, skiing in obvious pain through a qualification round and three heats . . . The task force handling security for the Olympics sent home 11 of its members for conduct infractions . . . Nearly halfway through the Games, no new positive cases have been recorded from more than 1,300 doping tests. In the only violation, Russian hockey player Svetlana Terenteva was reprimanded after testing positive for a stimulant before the Olympics.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.