Greek Sprinters Cleared in Faking '04 Car Crash
Olympians accused of ducking drug tests
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2011 1:22 PM CDT
Kostas Kenteris is seen after the finish of the men's 100 meter race during the Athletics Hellenic National championships in the main Olympic Stadium, in Athens, June 10 2004.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – A Greek court yesterday overturned convictions for a pair of Greek sprinting stars accused of faking a car crash to avoid a drug test on the eve of the 2004 Athens Olympics that were supposed to catapult them into national heroes. The judges ruled that there was reasonable doubt as to whether the crash was real, overturning a May ruling that it definitely hadn’t happened. The decision also voids perjury convictions for seven doctors, two alleged witnesses of the crash, and coach Christos Tzekos—although Tzekos’ conviction for possessing illegal substances stuck, the New York Times reports.

Just before the 2004 Olympics, Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou missed their third drug test of the year, saying they’d been in a crash. They withdrew from the Games a week later, and have since retired. Now Tzekos says they’ve “been totally vindicated,” but for many, suspicion remains. “You may think, ‘Oh yes, they were acquitted, and I’m so happy for those nice sprinters,” says one anti-doping expert. But the case “was layered with convoluted, bizarre turns that made it obvious something was very wrong.”