NEWS
08/04/2011 09:14 EDT | Updated 10/04/2011 05:12 EDT

China expels Olympian Wang Meng from speed skating team for drunken brawl

BEIJING, China - China's most decorated Winter Olympic athlete has been expelled from the national team for a drunken brawl with an official, throwing the successful short track speed skating program into disarray.

Wang Meng went out drinking and failed to return to the team hotel before a curfew, China's sports governing body said in a statement released late Thursday. When she was confronted by the team manager, she assaulted her, it said.

The 26-year-old Wang was expelled from the national team and banned from international competitions because her conduct "has violated the team's disciplines and jeopardized the sport's image," China's General Administration of Sport said in the statement.

Wang, who won three golds at the Vancouver Games last year, and one gold, a silver and a bronze at Turin, Italy, in 2006, had been suspended since the incident during a summer training camp in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao on July 24.

State-run Xinhua News Agency said Wang punched team manager Wang Chunlu after being criticized for failing to meet a curfew after a night out with five other teammates.

China's General Administration of Sport said Wang and male speed skater Liu Xianwei assaulted the team manager and damaged hotel property. Liu was also expelled for his role in the incident.

The other four squad members — Zhou Yang, Liu Qiuhong, Han Jialiang and Liang Wenhao — were allowed to keep training with the national team.

At the time, Xinhua reported that Wang accidentally cut her hands on glass and needed dozens of stitches after the incident.

In a video posted on the website of China News Service, an angry Wang, her arms in bandages, was shown amid a throng of reporters at the Winter Sports Management Center on Thursday night.

It was unclear what she had been asked, but Wang was shown insisting that she be quoted verbatim on TV and threatening to hold a news conference if she wasn't quoted in full.

"Can you not report the voice from the heart of an ordinary person? ... To report the voice from the heart of an ordinary person," she said. "I am no longer an athlete. I have been expelled."

Xinhua said Wang is famous for her fiery temper and it is not the first time she has landed herself in trouble.

She was expelled from the national team for six months in 2007 after criticizing her coach's tactics at the Asian Winter Games, Xinhua said.