Kenteris, Thanou arrive without comment

Updated: August 18, 2004, 5:40 AM ET
Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece -- Sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou arrived Wednesday to plead their case with the International Olympic Committee nearly a week after the duo missed a drug test and were hospitalized after a mysterious motorcycle crash.

Arriving at the hotel amid a crush of reporters and TV cameras, Kenteris, wearing a suit without a tie, made no statement. He was joined by his training partner Thanou and their coach Christos Tsekos.

Neither sprinter showed any signs of injury from the crash that kept them in a hospital for two days.

The IOC disciplinary committee wants to know why the two athletes missed drug tests in the Olympic village Thursday.

A few hours later, they were taken to a hospital with cuts and bruises suffered when their motorcycle skidded on a road.

The IOC's disciplinary committee twice postponed hearings while the sprinters remained in the hospital, giving them a chance to defend themselves in person.

Kenteris, the reigning 200-meter Olympic champion, is the country's most celebrated athlete and Greece's best hope for gold in track at the Athens Games. He was considered a leading candidate to light the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony. A Greek windsurfing champion got the honor.

Thanou was the 100-meter silver medalist in Sydney four years ago.

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

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press