Slovenly snowboarder barred from games’ opening ceremony

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Kyodo) Seiko Hashimoto, head of Japan’s Vancouver Winter Olympic delegation, said Friday snowboarder Kazuhiro Kokubo was barred from the games’ opening ceremony for flouting the dress code.

The dreadlocked 21-year-old drew sharp criticism for the way he wore Japan’s official Olympic uniform when he traveled with the snowboard team to Vancouver and was not allowed to attend an arrival ceremony at the Olympic athletes’ village held Wednesday.

Kokubo was seen at Narita International Airport with his tie loosened and his shirt hanging out of his trousers, which were worn low down off his hips.

The Ski Association of Japan was leaning toward kicking Kokubo out of the games altogether but Hashimoto persuaded the association to allow him to compete.

“The two of us had a long chat and he is reflecting on what he has done,” said Hashimoto.