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Greek Sprinters Named In E-Mail; Edwards Banned

By Amy Shipley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 18, 2004; Page D07

ATHENS, Aug. 18 (Wednesday) -- The two Greek sprinters facing expulsion from the Summer Games for missing several drug tests were named in a 2002 e-mail written by Victor Conte, the owner of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, the San Jose Mercury News reported Tuesday night.

Meantime, U.S. sprinter Torri Edwards lost her appeal of a two-year drug ban Tuesday, ending her hopes of competing in the Summer Games here.


Torri Edwards, world champion in 100 meters, is out of Olympics with two-year ban for stimulant. (Rusty Kennedy -- AP)

_____ Day 5 _____
 Olympics
Michael Phelps adds two gold medals to his total in Athens.
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The U.S. women's soccer team ties Australia, but advances to the quarterfinals.
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Notebook: U.S. sprinter Torri Edwards lost her appeal of a two-year drug ban.

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Greek sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, who face an International Olympic Committee disciplinary hearing Wednesday morning, were mentioned along with their coach, Christos Tsekos, in the e-mail included in the U.S. government's February indictment of Conte and three other men on steroid distribution charges, the Mercury News reported.

There are 15 names redacted in the e-mail, in which Conte tells an international track and field coach, according to the indictment, that the IOC has become aware of "the clear," which the government alleges is a reference to an anabolic steroid.

Conte has pleaded not guilty to charges against him.

In the e-mail, Conte writes, "We might also want to somehow get this information to the coach for the Greek athletes REDACTED and REDACTED so that nobody tests positive. They seek to be ready to test athletes on a 'related substances' charge."

Kenteris, the reigning 200-meter Olympic champion, and Thanou, who finished second to Marion Jones in the 100 meters at the 2000 Summer Games, were suspended over the weekend by the Greek Olympic Committee pending their hearing Wednesday.

Arne Ljungqvist, the medical commission chief for both the IOC and world track and field federation (IAAF), said the two had failed to appear at three unannounced drug tests since July. The last two absences came during the Olympic Games testing period, he said.

A failure to appear at two or more drug tests during the Games is grounds for expulsion, according to the IOC charter. The pair also might face a possible two-year ban from the IAAF, Ljungqvist said.

Kenteris was considered the leading candidate to light the Olympic torch at last Friday's Opening Ceremonies. However, he and Thanou were in a motorcycle accident early Friday morning, both suffering a host of minor injuries for which they were hospitalized for several days.

Their disciplinary hearing, originally scheduled for last Friday morning, was twice postponed because of their hospital stay.

Andreas Linardatos, a former sprinter in Greece, in February told the Athens newspaper Goal News that Conte sent the e-mail to him. Linardatos, now a coach, is among a handful of Greek athletes who have appeared on BALCO Web sites. The others are Olga Vasdeki, an Olympic triple jumper; Christos Polychroniou, a hammer thrower; Christos Meletoglou, a triple jumper; and Thomas Sbokos, a sprinter.

In Edwards's case, the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, which has set up a court at a local hotel, rejected Edwards's arguments that she should not be banned because she took a banned stimulant inadvertently. Edwards tested positive for the stimulant nikethamide at an April meet in Martinique.

The world champion in the 100 meters, Edwards maintained that she consumed the substance unintentionally in a glucose tablet given to her by her physiotherapist. The IAAF ruled that special circumstances did not apply and should not reduce the length of her ban.

Had a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency arbitration panel ruled that special circumstances did apply, she could have received as little as a public warning, disqualification from the April meet and no ban.

Edwards was entered in the 100 and 200 and would have been a medal contender in both. She won the world silver medal in the 200 last summer. At the U.S. Olympic trials, Edwards finished second in the 100 and third in the 200.

Her spot in the 100 goes to fourth-place finisher Gail Devers. The position in the 200 goes to LaShaunte'a Moore.


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