Image: Lago
Scott Lago won the bronze medal in the men's halfpipe competition Wednesday.
updated 2/19/2010 6:31:50 PM ET 2010-02-19T23:31:50

American halfpipe bronze medalist Scotty Lago volunteered to leave the Olympics on Friday after risque pictures of him showed up on the Internet.

Lago, who was awarded his bronze medal Thursday night, was at a party, wearing a Team USA T-shirt when somebody snapped a photo of a woman kneeling below Lago’s waist to kiss his medal. That picture, and another showing him sticking the medal in the woman’s mouth while teammate Greg Bretz looks on, appeared Friday on the TMZ Web site.

Lago apologized to officials at the U.S. Olympic Committee and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association and decided to go home.

In the aftermath of several out-of-competition incidents in Turin, one of which resulted in the dismissal of freestyle skier Jeret Peterson, the USOC has made extra efforts to emphasize athletes be on their best behavior when they’re at the Olympics.

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

Lago was a member of a group of snowboarders called the “Frends,” that included Kevin Pearce and Danny Davis, both of whom were badly injured before the Olympics and couldn’t make the trip.

“I put all that aside and rode,” Lago said.

He said he put together one of the best runs of his life to win the surprise bronze on a night overshadowed by Shaun White and his gold-medal performance.

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Video: Lago discusses snowboarding medal

  1. Closed captioning of: Lago discusses snowboarding medal

    >>> all right, first, let's say hello to bronze medalist scotty lago .

    >> come on in, scotty.

    >> way to go!

    >> congratulations.

    >> so exciting!

    >> thank you. thank you so much.

    >> nice to see you. thanks for coming.

    >> nice to see you. have you slept at all?

    >> no, i have not.

    >> you have also not.

    >> no, i have not slept.

    >> what is going through your head this morning, the bronze medal ? way to go.

    >> i'm so excited! i'm so excited, you know, and it was so special because my family came out to see me, my grandfather and my brother, my dad, my mom, and it was really special.

    >> well, the whole town of seabrook is proud of you in new hampshire.

    >> yeah.

    >> everywhere.

    >> i can't wait to go home.

    >> in fact, there was something scheduled for the same time because there's an election and there was a move to move that because everybody was going to be watching you. that's true. that's what happened. they couldn't move it so they probably got very good ratings.

    >> dropped into the halfpipe, the whole thing lasts just a few seconds.

    >> yeah.

    >> but take me through it in your mind. what ha wa happening and how did you feel?

    >> well, i was standing at the top of the pipe and i try to block out everything that was going on, you know. obviously, i knew i was at the olympics, you know. there was a lot to lose, you know, but i was really looking at it as wow, you know, i have a great opportunity here, so i kind of blocked out everything. and you know, i was just like, all right, i'm going to take it hit by hit and, you know, and just go do it, you know? my body knows what to do. don't overthink it and just ride like you know how to ride. so that was kind of my mentality going into it and it worked out.

    >> after making it in the 2000 games, i know you sort of changed your approach to the sport in terms of practicing and setting goals for yourself.

    >> totally, totally. yeah, i think being goal-oriented is super important, you know? having like day goals, monthly goals, whatever, you know, year goals. so, that's kind of what i've been doing, you know, and i've been working a little bit on, you know, on my mental game, you know, for competitions, because i used to choke in contests.

    >> yeah.

    >> what's it like being part of the best day for team usa in winter olympics history?

    >> yeah.

    >> it's, it's like this. it's like this.

    >> i know you're doing it for two dear friends of yours as well.

    >> yes, to kevin pearceon and to danny davis , two of my dear buddies on the frends crew.

    >> and it's frends without an "i."

    >> yeah.

    >> and you dedicated your run to them. so if they're listening.

    >> there we go. we've got a photo there.

    >> and to your friends in seabrook?

    >> yeah, what's up, boys? i hope they're awake right now, make sure they're partying.

    >> oh, they're awake.

    >> probably haven't gone to bed.


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