No beer at Olympic mountain bike races

John Stevenson John Stevenson

Planning to have a beer at the Olympic mountain bike races at Hadleigh Farm on August 11 and 12? Think again. According to the Independent, Hadleigh Farm is the only Olympic venue that won’t be serving alcohol.

Elisabeth Osl (AUT), cornering at the bottom of Deane’s Drop at Hadleigh Farm, but not looking forward to a refreshing beer after her race.
Photo by Paul Ducker via Flickr

It turns out that the site is owned by the Salvation Army, an organisation that has long campaigned against the evils of drink and was in the forefront of the 19th century Temperance Movement. That campaign’s greatest success was the USA’s 1919-1933 experiment with Prohibition, which outlawed the sale of alcohol and gave the world speakeasies and Al Capone.

The Salvation Army only agreed to host the Olympic mountain bike racing at Hadleigh Farm on the condition that no alcohol would be served.

Tight security, as at all games venues, is expected to keep out bootleggers. Heineken has exclusive “pouring rights” for the games, but spectators will not be allowed to bring their own beer even though Heineken won’t be doing any pouring. In fact, while most mountain bikers own a backpack specifically designed to carry two or three litres of fluid, Olympic venue restrictions prohibit liquids and gels in containers of more than 100ml.

A spokesperson for Heineken told the Indy that a dry mountain bike event was a done deal. “We haven’t had any discussion over it. If it’s an unlicensed venue, it’s an unlicensed venue, and that’s the end of it.”

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