<
>

Pair were on motorcycle at time of accident

8/13/2004

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.