OPINION

Long shadow

The mystery surrounding Greek sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou cast a long shadow on Greece’s finest hour. It has become clear that two of the nation’s biggest sports stars did everything they could to dodge an IOC doping test. When IOC medical officials looked for them at the Olympic Village Thursday, the athletes failed to show up. They were nowhere to be found in the village, and later at night, after they had been ordered to appear before the IOC disciplinary committee, they ended up in hospital after a mysterious motorcycle accident in Glyfada (which was not reported by the police or any witnesses). The two athletes and their controversial coach, Christos Tsekos, played a hide-and-seek game with the IOC, showing an ability to stage manage events. Regardless of the IOC verdict, the consequences for the two athletes are given. Their guilty stand justified all those who have over the previous years accused them of using performance-enhancing drugs. Their participation in the Games is uncertain. They will not be able to deny a drug test, and if they are truly injured, they will be unable to compete. The Greek champions cannot stand above IOC rules and regulations when hundreds of American and European athletes, including some of the world’s best-known stars, were kicked out of international competition after failing doping tests. Notably, Greece pronounced its intention to stage a clean Games, carrying out the most strict doping controls. The sprint duo should have willingly undergone the doping test and thereby dissolve the current mood of gloom and skepticism. Greece’s sports authorities should have kept a similar stand and not given them special treatment. This is the only way to safeguard the quality and the credibility of this costly event.