Mystery of the 'most popular man in Greece'

Konstadinos Kederis, to use his current official name, should have spent last night in a stadium under a spotlight as he lit the Olympic cauldron to start the Athens Games. Instead he spent it in a hospital, under a cloud, having ignited an Olympic firestorm.

The controversy surrounding the drugs tests that he and his Greek team-mate, Katerina Thanou, failed to take in the past few days, first in Chicago and then at the Olympic Village, has guaranteed him a dubious immortality.

"I cannot talk about him now," said one Greek official amid the throng at the main press centre here yesterday. He walked away, uncomfortable at the questions.

It was a typical reaction among locals. "He's fast," said one. But is he still a hero? A shrug. "We don't know what has happened to him."

Even his name is subject to debate. When he won in Australia he was Konstantinos Kenteris. His first name later became Kostas or Costas. Here he is Konstadinos Kederis.

He was born in Mitilini, the capital of the island Lesbos. He turned 31 last month, works as an officer in the Greek Air Force and is single.

In Greece, where he recently topped a poll as the most popular man in the country, he was voted Athlete of the Year for three consecutive years from 2000 onwards. But even the official Games database admits he was an "unknown entity among the ranks of world-class sprinting" four years ago. When he unexpectedly took gold Down Under, ahead of Britain's Darren Campbell in second place, he was adored at home and whispered about everywhere else.

He has never failed a drugs test, only failed to take them. His supporters attribute his remarkable improvement to his coach, Christos Tsekos, a former runner and businessman. Tsekos, who is also Thanou's coach, was the person five years ago who persuaded Kederis to switch from the 400m, where he was an average performer, to the 200m.

He made little impact at the latter distance in the European indoor championships of 2000, finishing last behind Britain's Christian Malcolm. Yet within six months he was Olympic champion, having taken a staggering quarter of a second from his personal best. He subsequently became European champion but rarely competes outside Greece.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum