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Controversial Greek Sprinter Banned From Olympics

A Greek sprinter involved in a drug-testing scandal at the 2004 Athens Olympics has been banned from the Beijing Games. VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer is there and has details.

The International Olympic Committee's executive board has ruled that Katerina Thanou will not be allowed to compete here in Beijing, even though she was on the Greek athletics team for the 100 meters.

She and fellow-Greek sprinter Kostas Kenteris missed doping tests on the eve of the 2004 Opening Ceremonies, claiming they were injured in a motorcycle accident. They ended up withdrawing from the Athens Games and were later suspended for two years by track and field's world governing body (IAAF).

IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said the executive board accepted the recommendation of a three-man disciplinary panel.

"Those string of events really resulted in what the IOC sees as a scandalous saga that overshadowed the Athens Games and brought the IOC and the Olympic movement, as a whole, into disrepute," said Davies.

Davies said the IOC needed to send a strong message on drug cheats. She added it was possible that Katernina Thanou could take her case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but the IOC would address that only if she does. For now, she is barred from competing in these Olympics.