Kostas Kenteris

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Gold 2000 200m

Konstantinos "Kostas" Kenteris, also spelled as Kenderis (in Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Κεντέρης; born July 11, 1973) is a Greek athlete. He won the gold medal in the 200 metres at the 2000 Summer Olympics but withdrew from the 2004 Summer Olympics held in his home country after a doping violation.


Born in Mytilene, Lesbos, Kenteris, a student of physical education, started practising athletics at age 10, and started running seriously about ten years later, when he moved to Thessaloniki. Kenteris specialised in the 200 m and 400 m races.

It was not until 1999 that Kenteris took part in his first major international tournaments; while he was eliminated in the 400m heats of the indoor world championships he returned that summer as a 200m runner at the outdoor World Championships. Kenteris won his heat # 5, defeating then 100m world record holder Maurice Greene, but did not start the quarter-finals due to injury. As a result, few people had heard of Kenteris when he surprised by qualifying for the 200m final at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Although defending Olympic champion Michael Johnson and reigning World Champion Greene didn't compete, nobody had included Kenteris in his list of medal favourites, despite his being the fastest European at 200m that summer with a 20.25 seconds from June. But Kenteris raced to the gold medal, denying Britain's Darren Campbell and Ato Boldon of Trinidad and Tobago. In doing so, Kenteris became the first white male to win a 200 meter sprinting medal at the Olympics since Pietro Mennea achieved the feat by winning gold at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

He also won the 200 m title at the 2001 World Championships, after a season where he mostly stayed out of international competition. The following year, Kenteris completed his treble by also winning the European title in Munich in 19.85, his personal best.

For the 2004 Summer Olympics, Kenteris was one of the hopes of the home crowd for winning a gold medal in athletics, and favourite to light the Olympic flame. However, on the day prior to the Games, Kenteris and his training partner Ekaterini Thanou failed to attend a drug test. While they claimed to have been injured in a motorcycle accident - in a frantic attempt to return to the Olympic village for the test upon hearing the news in the media - an official Greek investigation would later find that the alleged accident had been staged. In the ensuing doping scandal, Kenteris and Thanou announced their withdrawal from the Games on August 18 after a hearing before the Disciplinary Commission of the IOC, for what they described to be "in the interests of the country."

The missed test in Athens was the duo's third violation of the summer and they were consequently suspended by the IAAF on December 22, 2004. In June 2005, however, the athletes were cleared of all charges by the Greek athletics federation. Their coach Christos Tzekos was blamed for the missed tests and suspended for four years, but was cleared on separate allegations of distributing banned substances. After a long legal battle, on June 26, 2006, prior to a final ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the athletes reached an out of court settlement with the IAAF accepting anti-doping rule violations of 3 missed tests between July 27 and August 12, 2004 (in breach of Rule 32.2(d)) and a failure to provide a urine and a blood sample on August 12, 2004 (in breach of Rule 32.2(c)). In return, the more serious charges against them, those of evasion and refusal to provide a sample, were dropped. They have been eligible to compete since December 22, 2006.

Personal bests

Date Event Venue Time
June 23, 2001 100 m Bremen, Germany 10.15
August 9, 2002 200 m Munich, Germany 19.85
July 27, 1998 400 m Thessaloniki, Greece 45.60


Year Tournament Venue Result Event
1992 IAAF World Junior Championships Seoul, Korea 6th 200 m
2000 2000 Olympic Games Sydney, Australia 1st 200 m
2001 IAAF World Championships Edmonton, Alberta 1st 200 m
2002 European Championships Munich, Germany 1st 200 m
2003 SPAR European Cup Florence, Italy 1st 200 m
2004 Greece National Championships Greece 1st 100 m

External links

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