Sprinters suspended for missing drug tests

Updated: August 16, 2004, 2:51 AM ET
Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece -- Greek sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou will fight any IOC decision to kick them out of the Olympics for missing a drug test.

"We will appeal," their lawyer, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, told The Associated Press on Sunday.

The sprinters' coach and lawyer represented them at an International Olympic Committee hearing Monday over the missed drug tests. The athletes remained hospitalized with injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident late Thursday night.

The Greek Olympic Committee suspended the athletes from the team on Saturday, pending a final decision by the IOC. Their coach, Christos Tsekos, was also suspended.

"The suspicions are not the reality," Dimitrakopoulos said. "It is not true that our athletes tried to evade doping control."

Any IOC decision would have to be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which has set up a tribunal in Athens during the games. CAS is supposed to make rulings within 24 hours of an appeal. Track competition begins Aug. 20.

An IOC disciplinary committee will examine the strange case of the two athletes amid accusations they evaded a drug test at the Olympic village on Thursday.

Hours after Kenteris and Thanou missed the test, they were in a motorcycle wreck that put them in the hospital with cuts and bruises. Police are looking for evidence that the accident actually happened.

Kenteris, the reigning 200-meter champion, is the country's most celebrated athlete. Thanou, the 100-meter silver medalist in Sydney four years ago, is his training partner.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press