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Lago departs after risque photos surface

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  February 19, 2010 07:39 PM

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Scotty Lago's Olympic adventure has come to an abrupt end.

Lago, the free-spirited Seabrook, N.H. native who won bronze in the halfpipe Wednesday night, left the Olympics voluntarily today after the website TMZ.com published suggestive photos of a woman kissing the snowboarder's medal.

The decision to go home was Lago's, according to a US Olympic Committee spokesman. The 23-year-old apologized to the USOC as well as the US Ski and Snowboard Association.

"At this point, no action has been taken against Scotty," said USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky.

In the first of the pair of photos published on the website this afternoon, Lago, dressed in a Team USA t-shirt and wearing the medal he had been formally awarded that night, is smiling as a woman kneels and kisses the medal hanging at his waist. The photos appear to be taken in a crowd of people on a public street.

In the second photo, the woman is biting the medal as he holds it.

Lago's departure is consistent with the USOC's emphasis on good behavior from its athletes here in Vancouver. US team members were required to complete an "Ambassador Program" before coming to the games, and the USOC has reiterated on numerous occasions that it has taken steps to avoid embarrassing public behavior by its athletes.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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