Athens scandal leaves Thanou ineligible for Olympics: IOC

August 10th, 2008 - 1:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 10 (DPA) Doping-tainted Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou will not be allowed to compete at the Beijing Games because she brought the Olympic movement into disrepute in a “a scandalous saga” four years ago, the International Olympic Committee announced Sunday. An IOC disciplinary committee’s recommendation was confirmed by the executive board Sunday, IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said.

In a strongly-worded report, the disciplinary committee said that Thanou had grossly violated Olympic values and that neither she nor her lawyers had appeared at a hearing in Beijing last week.

“The prejudice caused by Thanou is most serious. It affects not only the IOC, but the entire Olympic movement, in particular, all athletes participating in the Olympic Games. Thanou’s misconduct amply justifies that she be declared ineligible for the 2008 Olympic Games,” said the disciplinary committee’s recommendation.

Thanou withdrew from the 2004 Olympics after missing a doping test and the IOC said at the time it would reopen the case if she aimed to compete in Beijing. Thanou was banned until 2006 over the affair and recently qualified for Beijing.

The disciplinary committee spoke of “a scandalous saga” and said Thanou was “a key figure and perpetrator therein.”

The world governing athletics body IAAF, which banned Thanou and fellow-sprinter Kostas Kenteris for two years over missed tests in 2004, did not complain about the IOC ruling.

“We respect this decision. We are not disappointed,” IAAF spokesman Nick Davies told DPA.

Thanou, a 100m silver medallist from 2000, and Kenteris, the 200m Olympic champion in 2000, caused a huge scandal in Athens when they ran away from drug testers in the Olympic village on the eve of the opening ceremony.

They staged a motorcycle accident later that night and were hospitalised for several days. They then withdrew from the Games which did not allow the IOC to continue its investigation.

The IOC said it would resume the probe if the athletes aimed to compete at the Games again, which was the case with Thanou now.

“We have the right to do that,” IOC boss Jacques Rogge told DPA in July.

The disciplinary committee listed Thanou’s offences:

“Some of the acts which Thanou committed at the time — and which resulted in her currently awaiting a criminal trial in Greece — are the following, apart from escaping doping controls:

– Repeatedly pretending she had a traffic accident;

– giving false testimony to the authorities under oath in relation to such non-
existent traffic accident;

– Causing medical doctors Kounelis, Fragakis and Mpaltopoulos to
issue false medical certificates;

– Causing six medical doctors to hospitalise her for five days in
order to avoid IOC controls;

– Postponing her appearance in front of the IOC Disciplinary Commission, thus seeking to avoid a sanction of disqualification from the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and possible exclusion from future Olympic Games.”

It was not immediately clear whether Thanou would bring the case before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. She had recently threatened to sue the IOC over the issue.

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