Konstantinos Kenteris, sprinter, Greece: He hit headlines in the early half of this decade, thanks to a series of victories in 200 and 400m events with best timing in Europe. The Greeks and Europeans were delighted with the fact that here is a sprinter in our backyard who can challenge the supremacy of Americans in the said events. And he did not disappoint his backers beating the favourite Michael Johnson in 200m at the Sydney Oly in 2000. Infact he was the second non-black to win the gold in Oly. Pietro Mennea (Ita) was the first to do so in Moscow Oly 1980. Kenteris' timed an incredible 19.85 in 200m at 2001 World Championships. The only other to cross 20sec barrier in 200m was the world record holder Johnson (19.32). Oly moved to Athens Kenetris' home town. But Kenteris disappointed his countrymen when he played traunt for a dope test. Kenteris and his training partner Ekaterini Thanou failed to attend a drug test. While they claimed to have been injured in a motorcycle accident - in a frantic attempt to return to the Olympic village for the test upon hearing the news in the media - an official Greek investigation would later find that the alleged accident had been staged. In the ensuing doping scandal, Kenteris and Thanou announced their withdrawal from the Games on Aug 18 after a hearing before the Disciplinary Commission of the IOC, for what they described to be "in the interests of the country." And country's best bet for gold medal hopes went in vain.
Ekaterini Thanou, sprinter, Greece: She was a big medal hope for her countrymen ahead of the Athens Oly in 2004. She had talents, class, fitness level and temparament but the pressure to keep up to the expetations of her people prompted her to take performance-enhancing drugs. On the Dooms-day Thanou and her boy friend and a sprinter Kenteris failed to turn-up for drug tests and reasoned that they met with accident so on so forth. However Greece investigation later claimed that the entire episode of accident was a staged one just to avoid the inevitable. Thanou and Kenteris later confessed they avoided tests in the interests of country. Ironically, Thanou who claimed silver medal in 100m in 2000 Sydney Games, may have her medal upgraded to gold after the actual gold medallist Marion Jones confessed that she used banned steroids during Sydney Games and handed her medals to IOC. However IOC's decision on the issue is awaited.