Sydney medalist Thanou barred from Beijing Olympics

created: 2008-08-12

Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou was declared ineligible for the Beijing Games on Sunday by the International Olympic Committee.

The decision was expected and is another sign of the IOC's renewed efforts to clamp down on cheaters. Thanou won't appeal the decision, her lawyer, Nikos Kollias, told The Associated Press.

IOC spokesperson Giselle Davies said the 15-member executive board's unanimous vote was intended to "to send a firm signal of the IOC's moral consideration that this case has brought the Olympic movement very much into disrepute."

Thanou and teammate Kostas Kenteris missed their third no-advance-notice drug test on the eve of the 2004 Athens Games. The duo claimed they had a scooter accident on their way back to the athletes village to be tested. Missing three tests results in an automatic two-year ban.

Thanou has served that ban, but the IOC declared in 2004 that it reserved the right to decide her eligibility because of the questionable circumstances surrounding the scooter accident. The Greeks' biggest medals hopes were charged with staging the crash and providing authorities with false information. The start of their trial has been repeatedly postponed and is expected to take place in early 2009.

"There was a whole string of events that took place in this sorry tale," Davies said. "They really resulted in what the IOC sees as a scandalous saga.

Thanou is waiting to hear the IOC's decision on reallocating Marion Jones' medals from the 2000 Olympics. She was second behind Jones in the 100 meters. The IOC has said it is awaiting news from the BALCO investigation before deciding how to redistribution her five medals and a gold medal won by the US men's 4x400 relay.