UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:53am
Almost immediately after winning the bronze medal in halfpipe, Scotty Lago left Vancouver because of his bronze medal. After a night of partying, pictures surfaced on TMZ of Lago and his medal in some compromising positions. Now, he's back home in Seabrook, New Hampshire, talking about his decision to leave.
Well, it was kind of his decision. According to Lago, the United States Ski and Snowboard Association pressured him to leave Vancouver. Since he "didn't want repercussions," Lago left. He told The New York Times:
"I didn't want to leave," Lago said. "They felt it was in the best interest to get out of the limelight a little."
Harsh, maybe, but it seems like the right choice. Now that Lago is back in New Hampshire, he's getting over the initial pain and embarrassment by being among his friends and family.
In Seabrook, they've planned a celebratory parade for him, he's free from judgment, and, not surprisingly, kids are excited there's a bronze medalist in their hometown.
"All the kids are looking up to him," said Frances Eaton, the [Seabrook Community Center] office manager. "Everybody is talking about Scotty Lago. I would say he's about the biggest thing right now."
Lago says he's grateful for his fame but he'd be "just as happy to be here shooting guns with my friends," so it appears that leaving Vancouver will work out OK for the 22-year-old snowboarder.
But as his friend and fellow snowboarder Keir Dillon told The Times, "It was a little harsh to crush someone's dreams over this."
True, but in 2010, athletes are subject to intense scrutiny. Scotty Lago found out the hard way.