19 August, 2004
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board decided to refer the case of Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for further action, including possible sanctions against both athletes.
The IOC decision was taken after it had heard a report and the recommendations of a Disciplinary Commission investigating the nature and circumstances of alleged anti-doping rule violations by the two Greek sprinters. The Commission considered that the IOC is no longer the competent authority for issuing potential sanctions related to the Athens Games once both athletes and their coach Christos Tzekos withdrew and surrendered their Olympic accreditation cards.
The IOC Board also decided to request that the IAAF takes action, including possible sanctions, against Tzekos and all other persons and organizations governed by the rules of the IAAF and who may have contributed to the above-mentioned alleged anti-doping rule violations.
Furthermore it said it would request the IOC Disciplinary Commission to submit to the IOC Executive Board a report on the wider circumstances, in particular all acts or omissions by any officials or other persons accredited at the Athens Olympic Games, in relation to the information management and chain of command concerning the communication of the Doping Control Notification to Kenteris and Thanou on 12 August 2004.
The two Greek Olympic medalists failed to appear last Thursday for a drug test and later on that day they had a motorcycle accident, which resulted in a five-day hospital stay for medical treatment.
Kenteris and Thanou blamed Greek sports officials for the doping evasion furor and parted ways with long-time coach Tzekos, himself under intense scrutiny over the affair and previous run-ins with international anti-doping officials (WADA).
"We waited 108 years for the Olympic Games to return to Greece. With a sense of responsibility I am withdrawing from the Games. Greek sports officials are responsible for what has happened. I have also decided to end my cooperation with coach Christos Tzekos,” Kenteris, the gold medal winner in the 200 meter at the Sidney Games, said.
He reiterated that he had never been informed or called to take an anti-doping test at the Olympic Village, adding that in the past four years he had tested negative in more than 30 tests.
A solemn-looking Thanou said she has never taken any banned substance and asked the Greek public to forgive her for not being able to compete in the Games.
Late Thursday Kenteris’ lawyer issued a statement clarifying that his client’s complaint about certain sports officials were not directed against Hellenic Amateur Athletic Association (SEGAS) or its members.
A SEGAS statement said the Association was satisfied with the decision of the two athletes to withdraw from the Games, saying it paves the way to restore the necessary calm among members of the Greek Olympic team.
Tzekos said he had not done anything wrong and added “I do assume, however, full responsibility.”
The attorney for the two athletes said they have "overwhelming evidence to prove their innocence."
Source: Athens News Agency