Ekaterini Thanou

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Ekaterini Thanou
Personal information
Nationality Greek
Born (1975-02-01) February 1, 1975 (age 39)
Athens, Greece
Height 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)
Sport
Country Greece
Sport Track and field
Event(s) Sprints

Ekaterini Thanou (Greek: Αικατερίνη Θάνου, [ekateˈrini ˈθanu]; born 1 February 1975), also known as Katerina Thanou, is a Greek former sprinter. She won numerous medals in the 100 metres, including an Olympic silver medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, while she was the 2002 European champion in Munich, Germany. She had also been crowned world and European champion in the 60 metres at the indoor championships. In 2007, Marion Jones, who won in the 100 metres at the 2000 Olympics leaving Thanou in the second place, admitted that she had used steroids and her gold medal was withdrawn by the International Olympic Committee; nevertheless, Thanou's silver medal was not upgraded to gold, because of her involvement in a doping controversy on the eve of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.

Suspension[edit]

For the 2004 Summer Olympics, Thanou was one of the main hopes of the home crowd for winning an athletics medal. However, on the day prior to the opening ceremony, Thanou and her training partner Konstantinos Kenteris failed to attend a drugs test, and later the same night were hospitalised, claiming they had both been injured in a motorcycle accident. In the ensuing doping scandal, Kenteris and Thanou announced their withdrawal from the Games on 18 August after a hearing before the Disciplinary Commission of the IOC, for what they described to be "in the interests of the country." An official Greek investigation into their alleged accident ruled that it had been staged and the pair were criminally charged with making false statements to authorities. The charges are still pending.[1]

The missed test in Athens was the duo's third violation of the summer and they were consequently provisionally suspended by the IAAF on 22 December 2004. In June 2005, however, the athletes were cleared of all charges by the Greek athletics federation. Their coach Christos Tsekos was blamed for the missed tests and suspended for four years, but was cleared on separate allegations of distributing banned substances. After a long legal battle, on 26 June 2006 prior to a final ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the athletes reached an out of court settlement with the IAAF accepting anti-doping rule violations of 3 missed tests between 27 July and 12 August 2004 (in breach of Rule 32.2(d)) and a failure to provide a urine and a blood sample on 12 August 2004 (in breach of Rule 32.2(c)). In return, the more serious charges against them, those of evasion and refusal to provide a sample, were dropped.[2] They have been eligible to compete since 22 December 2006.

Return from suspension[edit]

On her return to international competition at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Birmingham, England, she was booed by the crowds before finishing sixth in the final.

Following the revelations about Marion Jones's use of steroids, Thanou, who finished 2nd behind Jones in the 100 m at Sydney 2000, was in line to be awarded the American's gold medal, but due to Thanou's own tainted record the IOC, after two years of deliberation, opted to punish Jones without rewarding Thanou. Jones' gold medal was withdrawn but was withheld by the IOC, Thanou remaining a silver medallist.

Thanou was provisionally selected by the Hellenic Olympic Committee to compete at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. However, as she had not achieved the Olympic 'A' standard (11.32 seconds), if another Greek woman had achieved this, she would have been forced off of the team.[3]

However, all of this became moot on 9 August 2008, when the executive board of the IOC decided to bar Thanou from competing under rule 23.2.1 of the Olympic charter. This rule allows the banning of athletes who are thought to be guilty of improper conduct or bringing the games into disrepute. Thanou claimed that she faced "intense pressure" to withdraw from the Beijing Olympics, four years after being involved in a major doping controversy at the Athens Games.[4] The decision may lead to a messy legal battle. Thanou, who qualified for the Beijing Games, had threatened to sue Jacques Rogge, the IOC president, if she was denied permission to participate.

Conviction and subsequent acquittal[edit]

Thanou was tried in 2009 for making false statements to police, to avoid a doping test, on the eve of the 2004 Athens Olympics.[1] On May 9, 2011, Thanou and Kenteris were convicted of perjury and received suspended sentences of 31 months against which they immediately appealed.[5] The judge declared that the "motor accident at the Olympic Games in reality had never taken place".[citation needed] On 6 September 2011, the Guardian newspaper reported that Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou had been acquitted by a Greek appeals court of faking a motorcycle crash after missing a drugs test.[5]

Personal bests[edit]

Event Time Venue Date
60 metres 6.96 Maebashi, Japan 7 March 1999
100 metres 10.83 Seville, Spain 22 August 1999

Achievements[edit]

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
1995 World University Games Fukuoka, Japan 2nd 100 m
IAAF World Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 9th 100 m 11.09
1996 European Indoor Championships Stockholm, Sweden 1st 60 m 7.15
1997 World University Games Catania, Italy 1st 100 m
Mediterranean Games Bari, Italy 1st 100 m 11.13
2nd 4x100 m relay 43.07 NR
IAAF World Championships Athens, Greece 9th 100 m
1998 European Indoor Championships Valencia, Spain 4th 60 m
European Championships Budapest, Hungary 3rd 100 m 10.87 NR
1999 IAAF World Indoor Championships Maebashi, Japan 1st 60 m 6.96 NR
IAAF World Championships Seville, Spain 3rd 100 m 10.84
2000 European Indoor Championships Ghent, Belgium 1st 60 m 7.05
2000 Olympic Games Sydney, Australia 2nd 100 m 11.12
2001 IAAF World Championships Edmonton, Canada 2nd 100 m 10.91
2002 European Championships Munich, Germany] 1st 100 m 11.10
2003 IAAF World Championships Paris, France 4th 100 m 11.03
2007 European Indoor Championships Birmingham, Great Britain 6th 60 m 7.26

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Associated Press (February 5, 2009). "Trial for Greek sprinters postponed". USA TODAY. Retrieved November 2, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Sprint duo drop drugs ban appeals". BBC Sport. 2006-06-26. Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  3. ^ "Greece name Thanou for Olympics". BBC Sport. July 15, 2008. 
  4. ^ Agence France-Presse (2 August 2008). "Thanou feels pressure to withdraw". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  5. ^ a b Owen Gibson (6 September 2011). "Greek court acquits Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou of faking crash". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 

External links[edit]