Greek sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou face misdemeanor charges for allegedly skipping drug tests on the eve of the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, faking a motorcycle accident to cover up their absences and lying to investigators, the public prosecutor in Athens announced yesterday.

The eight-count indictment alleged that doctors at the city's state-run KAT hospital participated in a scheme to protect the Greek star athletes from punishment for dodging the mandatory drug tests.

Seven KAT doctors, the athletes' coach Christos Tzekos and other eyewitnesses were charged with making false statements.

Tzekos, who owns a supplement store, also was charged with the importation and sale of illegal substances.

The indictment resulted from a two-month investigation launched a day after the alleged motorcycle accident on Aug. 12, which occurred on the eve of the Opening Ceremonies.

The Greek sprinters said they were rushing back to the Olympic Village at the time of the crash and sustained serious injuries that prevented them from taking the scheduled tests.

The hospital released a number of statements confirming the serious nature of the injuries.

Both sprinters withdrew from the Summer Games. The world governing body of track and field (IAAF) is in the midst of an investigation that could lead to two-year bans for both athletes for evading drug tests.

IAAF General Secretary Istvan Gyulai said the organization likely would wait for the results of the criminal investigation before taking action, though he said the IAAF anti-doping review board could recommend that Kenteris and Thanou be provisionally suspended.

-- Amy Shipley