An unofficial medal

One more distinction should be added to the many excellent achievements of our country during its organization of the Olympic Games. It is unseen by many but extremely significant as it is linked to the most unfortunate aspect of these Games – the stance of the great majority of the Greek public in the Kenteris-Thanou-Tzekos doping controversy. The average citizen was pained by the incident, disappointed and disillusioned, with some even feeling betrayed – a reaction significant for many reasons. First, because the loyalty and fanaticism the two athletes had engendered by their previous successes is something that could have led to solidarity and support. Moreover, the arguments regarding an international conspiracy and of doping as a widespread phenomenon had already been weighed up by the public at large. Further, the average citizen could have been influenced by the tolerant stance of the sports officials, or even subscribed to it themselves. But, rejecting all these pseudo-dilemmas, the Greeks dealt a sharp blow to the «competent» sports officials. They decided, instead, to defend our national interests, which – in this particular situation – is synonymous with the ideal of sportsmanship and the Olympic spirit. In this way, they also showed that they do not want cowardly victories, dishonorable medals and unworthy champions.

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