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Whistler youth pictured in riot crowd

Apologizes for poor judgment

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A Whistler mountain biker and pro skier has issued an online apology after he was identified in a social media sweep of participants in the June 15 Stanley Cup riot in Vancouver.

Alex "Pro" Prochazka, a professional mountain biker and skier, was pictured standing in front of a burning truck in a photo that ran in the National Post. Other pictures also appear show him with his hand on the wheel of the truck as the crowd flips it before setting it on fire and videos have surfaced that show him at the scene of the truck before it was tipped and then celebrating as the truck went over.

He responded by writing a letter on his Facebook page, which has been reposted to other mountain bike sites, to say he had no part in the arson of the truck, and to apologize for his lack of judgment in posing for the photo and not leaving the area.

When reached by the Pique he declined to comment at the time.

Prochazka is sponsored by Oakley, among others, and was wearing an Oakley T-shirt at the time. Posts on Oakley Canada's Facebook page are calling for a boycott of the company's products unless they pull his sponsorship, and the company released a statement to the effect that they are considering their relationship.

Through Facebook and Tumblr, dozens of people have been identified while committing acts of vandalism, violence and even theft. In one case a rioter by the name of Nathan Kotylak - pictured setting fire to a police vehicle outside of the CBC building - was suspended from the national junior water polo team and could lose his scholarship to the University of Calgary.

Hundreds of photos and videos, sometimes with information on rioters, have been forwarded to the Vancouver Police Department. A 30-person unit has been created to identify and prosecute rioters that were responsible for the damage, fighting and looting.

But while some are celebrating the vigilante justice of social networking The Province Newspaper is reporting that the lawyer for the family of a teen who apologized for his actions have fled their home due to threats.

Prochazka, 20, is a unique figure in the extreme sports world - he's a pro mountain bike slopestyle rider and a pro skier in the winter months.

There's been no word on the total costs of the damage from the riots, and a final bill will take years to deliver once all the court and even jail costs are taken into consideration.

Facial recognition software is being used where possible  to compare the faces of rioters to photos in the ICBC database of drivers' licences. It's expected that insurance companies will likely spend millions addressing claims for burned cars, broken glass and theft.

This isn't the first riot to hit Vancouver. The city's history also includes the 1994 riot when the Vancouver Canucks lost to the New York Rangers.

 

 

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