SPORTS

Bradley Wiggins paints the town gold after record-breaking British Olympic success

08/02/2012 05:53 EDT | Updated 10/02/2012 05:12 EDT
LONDON - They were the two sides of games — the drinking games.

As Australian rower Josh Booth was detained by police and hospitalized after overindulging, British cyclist Bradley Wiggins was celebrating Olympic success with a very public booze binge on Wednesday night.

The cyclist was the toast of Britain as he painted the town gold after becoming the country's most decorated Olympian with victory in the time trial.

And Wiggins gave his adoring public a running commentary as he showed his endurance extends beyond the roads.

"Getting wasted," he tweeted, accompanied by a picture, posing with a drink and flicking the V for victory sign with St. Paul's Cathedral gleaming in the background.

And the seven-time Olympic medallist wasn't slowing down.

"Blind drunk at the minute and overwhelmed ... it's been emotional," he tweeted later.

The drinks started flowing at the British Olympic Association's games base next to the Olympic Park in east London.

"He is absolutely thoroughly entitled to have a fantastic party and celebrate," BOA chairman Colin Moynihan said Thursday. "Nobody deserves it more. You get a bit dehydrated (after competing) — that vodka and tonic might have had a bit more of an affect than it might have done under normal circumstances."

A fourth Olympic gold came less than two weeks after Wiggins became Britain's first Tour de France winner.

"It's extraordinary what he has done," Britain's chef de mission Andy Hunt said. "There isn't a person in the country who wouldn't want to buy him a drink."

After appearing at his second Olympics in 2004, Wiggins admitted he had to overcome a drinking problem as the parties continued long after the Athens cauldron was extinguished.

But now he is comfortable in the limelight.

"I lead a pretty normal life," Wiggins said between sips of a vodka and tonic on Wednesday night. "I'm not a celebrity, I will never be a celebrity."

The advice from IOC spokesman Mark Adams to athletes on Thursday was: "Drink wisely."

The 21-year-old Booth was detained by officers for allegedly causing damage to a storefront in an alcohol-related incident after finishing sixth in the men's eight on his Olympic debut. He fainted at the police station and was taken to a hospital.

He was released a short time later and was not charged by police in the incident that occurred about 12 hours after he competed in the men's eight at the Olympic rowing basin at Windsor outside London.

"We understand there was alcohol involved," said Australian team chief Nick Green, who received a phone call from police at 3 a.m. at the athletes village.

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Rob Harris can be reached at http://twitter.com/RobHarris

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