March 24, 2005

Kenteris Story Continued

Gee, it's been so long (almost two months) since we talked about Kostas Kenteris. And here he is in the news again this week.

First, Kenteris and Ekaterina Thanou were forgiven by the Greek athletics federation for missing their drug test just before the 2004 Olympics. The pair escaped on a technicality, as their federation ruled that they were not properly informed of the test according to IOC rules.

The official bad guy turns out to be their coach, Christos Tzekos, who is banned (whatever that means) for four years for obstructing the testing process. Apparently he was to blame for the missed test in Athens and Kenteris' other no-shows. He was, however, cleared of more serious charges of trading in illegal substances or encouraging athletes to take illegal substances. Little wonder that Tzekos described himself as "very happy" with the decision.

Otherwise, reaction has been almost universally negative. Even the Greek fans found it tough to swallow. The head of the Greek athletics federation says that he expects their decision to be overturned and that Kenteris and Thanou will probably never run again. The IAAF is still considering an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Dick Pound, in typical we-always-get-our-man fashion, says that WADA will appeal if the IAAF doesn't.

Kenteris himself, meanwhile, still maintains his innocence and says that he's getting ready for Beijing. Or maybe, now that we know he wasn't guilty after all, we could just have a do-over.

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