This Greek farce has its deadly serious aspects

Share
Related Topics

Few emerge from the muddled epic of Greece's two fallen athletes with any credit. A week ago, the shenanigans of the pair provided an entertaining low-life counterpoint to the grand and serious business of returning the Olympics to their ancient home. What with the no-show for the drugs test, the non-reported motorcycle accident, the scratches that necessitated days of bed-rest and drip-feeds, we all enjoyed the ride. What possessed the Greeks' brightest medal prospects to take a spin on a motorbike when the honour of the country was at stake?

Few emerge from the muddled epic of Greece's two fallen athletes with any credit. A week ago, the shenanigans of the pair provided an entertaining low-life counterpoint to the grand and serious business of returning the Olympics to their ancient home. What with the no-show for the drugs test, the non-reported motorcycle accident, the scratches that necessitated days of bed-rest and drip-feeds, we all enjoyed the ride. What possessed the Greeks' brightest medal prospects to take a spin on a motorbike when the honour of the country was at stake?

Soon, the tale assumed a darker aspect. Konstadinos Kederis and Ekaterina Thanou, it appears, have a history of avoiding drugs tests. After initial blustering, Kederis yesterday withdrew from the Games; Thanou followed. Whatever the rights and wrongs of who informed whom about the time of the crucial drugs test, the Greek sports authorities kept passing responsibility for dealing with the problem to someone else. Yesterday, the International Olympic Committee decided against punishment: the IAAF, which requires three, rather than two, no-shows for a ban, will now determine the penalty next week.

Nonetheless, the fact that Kederis and Thanou were placed in a position where they had little choice but to withdraw, despite their hero status in the country hosting the games, does indicate that the Olympic authorities are taking a tougher stand towards athletes who take banned substances. Even if an attitude prevails among some athletes that the only crime is getting caught - and among some testers that the cheats will always be one step ahead - that is no excuse for defeatism.

Dick Pound, the chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, deserves praise for his single-minded pursuit of drugs cheats before and during these games. But the down-to-earth attitude of the Greek public should also be commended. Rather than defending their erstwhile heroes as unfairly persecuted and denouncing the IOC and the drug-testers as "anti-Greek", most Greeks have accepted the verdict with resignation and rejected their erstwhile heroes. If this sad episode offers any consolation, this is it.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Middleweight

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's fastest growing full s...

Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

Recruitment Genius: Commercial Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Estimating, preparation of tech...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will work as part of a smal...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron has reiterated his pre-election promise to radically improve the NHS  

How can we save the NHS? Rediscover the stiff upper lip

Jeremy Laurance
 

Thanks to Harriet Harman, Labour is holding its own against the Tory legislative assault

Isabel Hardman
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada