SPORTS

Thanou says motorcycle crash was real

Former Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou told an Athens misdemeanor court on March 28 that she had not staged an accident ahead of the 2004 Athens Olympics and that she, and fellow athlete Costas Kenteris, were victims of an organized effort to ensure the runners did not compete in the Games.

“I have been presented by the media as a criminal but I never took illegal substances nor did I hide,» she said.

Thanou and Kenteris claim they fell off their motorcycle on their way to the Olympic Village to take part in a doping test. They missed the test and were banned from the Games.

Thanou said she did not remember much about the accident. ?The bike wobbled and we fell,? she told the court.

Thanou, a silver medalist in the 100 meters at the 2000 Olympics, and Kenteris who won gold in the 200 meters at the same Games, were among the favorites to win medals in Athens.

Thanou claimed authorities tried on purpose to prevent the pair from taking part in the 2004 Olympics.

“This was a setup to deny a whole country a major distinction,» she said.

Her coach Christos Tzekos also submitted documents to court which he claims support the argument that the two athletes were victims of a set-up.