Greece’s Olympic Hero Kenteris Faces Expulsion
Greece’s top athlete Costas Kenteris faces expulsion from the Athens Games Friday after missing a drugs test, triggering shock and tears across the host nation hours before the opening ceremony. International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge summoned Olympic 200 meters champion Kenteris to a disciplinary hearing Friday with fellow Greek athlete Katerina Thanou, 100 meters silver medallist at Sydney, who also missed a test. “I have called for a disciplinary hearing … The process has started rolling,” said Rogge, who has vowed all drug cheats will be caught.
Kenteris, the only man to win the Olympic, world and European 200 titles, is a national hero in Greece and has been the host nation’s best medal hope at the Games. “If he didn’t turn up (for the drugs test), he’s a fool and he deserves to be out,” said an Olympic official, declining to be named. A missed drugs test is normally treated as a failed test and leads to immediate suspension from competition.
The drama swept the Games city, with some people bursting into tears at the news on the man they call “Greece Lightning.” Greek television broke into programs to report developments. “This is surely very bad news for us, Kenteris is a great guy, low-key and a very good athlete,” said 48-year-old taxi driver Costas Mathes.
Bizarre. So far, the Olympics have been one fiasco after another for Greece, which rather clearly was not up to the challenge of hosting the Games. Rather ironic given that they created them to begin with.