Mike Rowbottom @ITG

Apologies have been made, and doubtless lessons learned, following the reports that emerged this week of drunk and disorderly behaviour during a weekend competition by a Canadian men’s curling team that included a Sochi 2014 Olympic gold medallist.

But it’s going to be one for the annals…

The gold medallist in question was Ryan Fry, a member of the team that beat Great Britain’s men in the Olympic final.

He and his team at the Red Deer Curling Classic tournament, consisting of Jamie Koe, Chris Schille and DJ Kidby, forfeited their final game after fans and opponents complained of their drunken behaviour.

"They went out to curl and they were extremely drunk and breaking brooms and swearing and just unacceptable behaviour that nobody wants to watch or hear or listen to, and it was just 'enough was enough,'" Wade Thurber, the facility manager of the Red Deer Curling Centre, told CBC Sports.

"There was some damage in the locker room and other teams were complaining about their stuff being kicked around in the locker room."

Fry and Koe have since tweeted sincere apologies for their behaviour.

Ryan Fry, pictured playing for Canada as they won Sochi 2014 gold against Britain, was one of the team members disqualified from a tournament at the weekend for drunken behaviour ©Getty Images
Ryan Fry, pictured playing for Canada as they won Sochi 2014 gold against Britain, was one of the team members disqualified from a tournament at the weekend for drunken behaviour ©Getty Images

“I came to the event to play and enjoy the sport. My actions were truly disrespectful and embarrassing - the committee was right to disqualify us from play," Fry said in a statement.

"I allowed myself to lose control and I offended people with my actions. I wish nothing more than to apologise to everyone individually.

"I will strive to become a better version of myself while contributing positively to the sport and curling community that I love so much."

Koe said: "Due to a lapse in judgement on Saturday I contributed to an unpleasant experience for others.”

So what possessed them to get drunk - or should that be stoned? - or should that be hammered? - during a curling competition?

In which they were keeping a disorderly house.

Stop it.

It was the rink what did it.

Enough. Seriously. This was some "lapse", and one can only speculate upon the cause.

Right. I’ve speculated. I still can’t understand what on earth they thought they were doing. Could they perhaps have been very bored?

Part of the reason why this story has resonated so strongly is that as far as most people are concerned what happened here - to adopt a phrase - was simply not curling.

If one heard about such behaviour taking place in a football match, for instance, it might be noteworthy but it would not stand out so starkly in a sport where unacceptable behaviour is often no more than standard fare.

That said, tales of rampaging drunkenness in football have fallen most often into the “post-match” category.

In a winter sport context, such errant behaviour is more likely to be associated with disciplines such as snowboarding, the event in which Britain’s Billy Morgan won bronze at this year’s Pyeongchang Games before being delivered back to the Athletes Village in a supermarket trolley on the evening of his triumph after some spectacular celebratory libation.

Britain's Pyeongchang 2018 snowboard big air bronze medallist Billy Morgan got delivered back to the Athletes Village in a supermarket trolley after over-celebrating his success ©Getty Images
Britain's Pyeongchang 2018 snowboard big air bronze medallist Billy Morgan got delivered back to the Athletes Village in a supermarket trolley after over-celebrating his success ©Getty Images

But again, we’re talking post-match. There was of course the notorious in-competition controversy that enveloped another young snowboarder during the 1998 Nagano Winter Games, the first in which snowboarding existed as a medal event - namely Ross Rebagliati, winner of that inaugural gold.

His medal was - temporarily - confiscated when he showed up positive for marijuana. This particular weed was rooted in the culture of snowboarding before it achieved its Olympic status. And guess what?

At the time Rebagliati claimed he had been a victim of passive smoking, having attended a farewell party in his native Canada where others - but not he - smoked dope. Very strong dope at that.

His marijuana defence was thus a variation of former US President Bill Clinton’s - he inhaled, but he didn’t smoke.

In the end the defence became academic as it transpired that the International Ski Federation (FIS) regulations which had been applied by the International Olympic Committee, offering the option of punishment for anyone whose sample registered more than 15 nanograms per millilitre of marijuana, were drafted with other sports in mind, such as ski jumping.

In terms of a technical sport such as snowboarding, however, marijuana was regarded by the FIS as being actually inhibitory to performance.

Rebagliati, now a stand-up citizen, imaginative entrepreneur and father of three, has a company called Ross’ Gold, which sells medical cannabis merchandise. He also insists marijuana would have been and can be performance-enhancing.

Canada's Ross Rebagliati arrives on the winners podium at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games as the first Olympic snowboard champion - a title he then lost, and regained after an issue with a positive sample for marijuana ©Getty Images
Canada's Ross Rebagliati arrives on the winners podium at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games as the first Olympic snowboard champion - a title he then lost, and regained after an issue with a positive sample for marijuana ©Getty Images

But we digress.

So part of the shockwave from the weekend story was the sport in which it took place.

Always, when such news arrives, the context is all. A footballer dives. It’s not major news. A rugby player dives. Sensation.

A rugby player gets involved in a rough-house during a match. Not major news. A football player gets involved in a similar incident on the pitch. Sensation.

Trash talking takes place ahead of a boxing match. Not major news. Trash talking does not take place ahead of a boxing match. Sensation…

What other sports are on the Driven Snow continuum along with curling?

Golf? Perhaps. Although there is a vast hinterland of gamesmanship and the occasional Ryder Cup squabbles, which reared into what veteran broadcaster Alistair Cooke described as “a date that will live in infamy” at the 1999 event in Brookline.

To a background of allegedly fearsome sledging of the visiting players by, primarily, some members of the crowd, the United States team invaded the 17th green in celebration of a successful 45-foot birdie putt by Justin Leonard which looked as if it had secured victory over Europe. The only problem being that Jose Maria Olazabal might have annulled it with his own birdie putt from 22 feet.

Which, oddly enough, he missed.

Tennis? No. Snooker? Please! Cricket? You jest.

What about the cerebral sports, or games - as their aspiring Olympic proponents don’t like to call them?

Chess? Riddled with accusations of cheating down the years.

The US Ryder Cup team were accused of gamesmanship at the 1999 tournament ©Getty Images
The US Ryder Cup team were accused of gamesmanship at the 1999 tournament ©Getty Images

In 1962, future world champion Bobby Fischer made what turned out to be accurate accusations that the Soviet players taking part in a tournament to establish the next world title challenger were colluding and agreeing to draw with each other.

In the “Match of the Century” ten years later between Fischer and Boris Spassky the latter accused the former of using “non-chess means” to put him off, with speculation extending to the possibility of dodgy lights designed to hypnotise him.

Just over a decade later, Garry Kasparov - on the back of three consecutive defeats in his defence of the title against fellow Soviet player Anatoly Karpov - sacked one of his advisors, accusing him of having fed information about his tactics to his opponent’s camp.

Bridge? It’s a while back, but bridge has been known to cross the line.

At the 1965 World Championships the world governing body confirmed that teammates Terence Reese and Boris Schapiro were communicating illegally through body language.

Vigorous digging actions signified spades, while an ostentatiously turned backside indicated trumps. Not really.

In fact, the communication took place through fingers. For instance, two fingers held together indicated two hearts held, and two fingers held apart indicated five.

Surely there must be some sports free from slur or stain?

One sport?

I’ll get back to you…