Pair were on motorcycle at time of accident

Updated: August 13, 2004, 11:11 AM ET
Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece -- Greek sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou were taken to a hospital early Friday after being involved in a traffic accident a few hours before they were to face an International Olympic Committee disciplinary board for failing to attend a doping test.

Police said the pair were on a motorcycle when the accident occurred -- on the day of the Olympics opening ceremony -- and that they had not been seriously hurt.

Their coach, Christos Tzekos, said after visiting them in the hospital that "They don't have a serious problem." He said a decision on whether they would be in shape to compete would be made in the next few days.

"Fortunately their condition is not a cause for concern," said Vassilis Sevastis, head of the Greek Amateur Athletics Association. "Costas was driving and the bike slipped ...This accident occurred because they were in a bad psychological state."

A statement from Athens' main KAT trauma hospital, however, said the 31-year-old Kenteris had suffered "cranial trauma," whiplash and open wounds to the lower leg. Thanou suffered abdominal bruises, injuries to the right hip and a muscular injury to her right upper leg.

Kenteris, who could not be located for a doping test in the athletes' village on Thursday, is Greece's best hope for a gold medal on the track at the Athens Games. He's considered a favorite to light the cauldron at Friday's opening ceremony.

One of Kenteris' friends, Stratis Patakos, said after visiting the sprinter that "it is doubtful" he would participate in the opening ceremony.

"He does not feel well and has a very bad headache," said Patakos, a doctor.

Kenteris, the reigning 200-meter champion after his surprise victory in the 2000 Sydney Games, faced an IOC investigation after he could not be located for a drug test Thursday in the athletes' village.

Thanou also could not be found for an out-of-competition screening.

IOC president Jacques Rogge set up a three-member disciplinary committee Friday to investigate "the nature and circumstances of an alleged anti-doping rule violation committed by two Greek athletes," the IOC said in a statement.

Last year, both Kenteris and Thanou missed an out-of-competition drug test because they were in Qatar after informing anti-doping officials they would be training on the Greek island of Crete.

Neither has tested positive for drugs.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press