Adventure

Sprinters Acquitted in Doping Saga

Accused of staging crash, Greeks cleared

An appeals court in Athens overturned convictions yesterday in the perjury case of Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, the Greek sprinters who were charged with staging a motorcycle accident to avoid a drug test before the Athens Olympics in 2004. Kenteris, who won gold in the 200 meters at the Sydney Olympic Games, and Thanou, who won silver, were favored to medal in Athens but missed a drug test, the third in a year, resulting in an automatic doping ban that kept the pair from competing in the Olympics. Kosteris and Thanou said that they were in a motorcycle accident at the time of the test, which, if true, would have forced Olympic officials to forgive the violation. That claim was later challenged in court, and Kenteris, Thanou, Thanou's coach Christos Tzekos, and several doctors were convicted of perjury in May. The appeals court yesterday ruled that prosecutors had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the crash was a fabrication. Tzekos's conviction on possession of illegal substances, however, was upheld.

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