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Newz Forum: OLYMPICS: Greek sprinters withdrawl

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posted on Aug, 18 2004 @ 08:01 AM
Americans Aquil Abdullah and Henry Nuzum rowed their double scull furiously down the stretch to cross the line in a dead heat with Norway on Wednesday, winning both teams a spot in a rare seven-boat final.

The two boats were vying for the third and final qualifying spot out of their semifinal, and the American boat initially was declared the winner. Norway argued the photo was inconclusive and a jury of officials with FISA, rowing's governing body, agreed, setting up the seven-boat race for the medals.

At the halfway point of the 2,000-meter race, Abdullah, the U.S. men's crew team's first black Olympian, and Nuzum, trailed both Australia and Norway for the third and final qualifying spot as Italy and France broke away.

With Abdullah shouting encouragement from the bow, Nuzum picked up the pace, and they nosed past the Norwegians in the last few dozen meters.

Norway made a frantic effort to pull ahead as the bows of both boats poked ahead of each other several times.

"There was a point where I looked over and said, 'We got this,' '' Abdullah said. "I probably said some other things as well, but I don't know if you can print that.''

Nuzum and Abdullah embraced as they waited for the official word.

"We were pretty happy with our race regardless of the outcome,'' Nuzum said. "It was our best race of the year.''

The time clock initially showed both the American and Norwegians with 6:14.70 at the finish and officials took more than a minute to study a photo before posting the official result.

The American's were given a time of 6:14.69, their fastest ever.

"Pretty awesome. We're in the medal race now and any anything can happen,'' Abdullah said after getting out of the boat. "I'm just thankful to have a partner like Henry to lay it on in the last 500 there and take us through.''

It was first bright moment in what started as a rough day for U.S. boats. The only other boat to stay in medal contention Wednesday was the women's quadruple scull, and they did it by a hair.

With the top four boats advancing to the final, the American quad was firmly in fourth much of the race, but nearly got clipped at the line by hard-charging Denmark, which finished only 0.02 of a second back.

Sculler Jennifer Devine finished fourth in her semifinal, one spot below what she needed to keep alive her run for a medal in rowing.

Devine had drawn a field that included two-time defending gold medalist Ekaterina Karsten of Belarus, two-time defending world champion Rumyana Neykova of Bulgaria and New Zealand's Sonia Waddell.

With Karsten and Neykova dueling for the win -- which Karsten took by 0.15 of a second -- Devine fought to stay with Waddell early but dropped five seconds behind at 1,000 meters and never recovered.

Soon after, Luke Walton and Russian-born Artour Samsonov missed advancing to the pairs final in a race that included an unusual finish as Canadian and South African boats appeared to knock oars while sprinting for a final qualifying spot.

South African Donovan Cech saw his oar fly out of his hands and his boat turned sideways while Canada continued through in what would have been a berth into the medal race. But officials disqualified the Canadians, saying they had crossed into South Africa's lane over the last 100 meters and had been warned to move over. The ruling moved South Africa into third.

The Canadians appealed, saying Cech's oar was jolted from catching the water wrong, not contact with another oar. A FISA jury rejected that claim, saying contact is not required for interference and that the oars had overlapped.

FISA executive director Matt Smith said it remained unclear whether there was contact. Canada has appealed the jury's ruling to FISA's board, which was to make a final ruling before racing resumed Thursday.

Meanwhile, the U.S. men's four struggled to a sixth place in their semifinal, eliminating them from medal contention. The women's pair of Sarah Jones and Kate MacKenzie struggled to a fourth in a race where only the top two boats moved on.

Britain's Matthew Pinsent remained firmly on track for his fourth gold medal as his four boat won its semifinal. And the Canadian eight, upset in their preliminary heat by the world record-setting American crew earlier this week, won its repechage -- or second-chance race -- to get another crack at their North American rivals in Sunday's eights final.

posted on Aug, 18 2004 @ 06:56 PM
i think that this is what ben wanted to post......i believe that one of these guys may have been the one in the tutu and the clown shoes that dove into the pool, how these clowns could think that they could get away with a stunt like this is beyond me.....if i knew that a job i wanted required drug testing and i was on something i think i would save myself the embaressment and just not apply

Greek Sprinters Withdraw from Games

By Mitch Phillips

ATHENS (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee finally washed their hands of Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou Wednesday, declaring them out of the Olympic family and handing the case to world athletics authorities.

The two Greek sprinters, facing expulsion for missed doping tests, withdrew from the Athens Games Wednesday morning.

Four hours later, after an emergency meeting of its executive board, the IOC decided not to take any action against them and leave judgment with the governing body of athletics, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

The IAAF then announced it would consider the case of both athletes at a council meeting on August 26 in Athens.

Thomas Bach, the IOC vice president who headed the disciplinary commission, said it was "good it was over."

"They are out of the Olympic family. We did everything that was possible from a judicial point of view even if it was morally difficult to limit ourselves to that," he said. "I don't think that there would have been a withdrawal without our intensive investigation."

But the IOC's decision did not satisfy everyone.

"Unanswered questions remain and the judicial investigation continues in order to give answers," said Greek government spokesman Thodoris Roussopoulos.

"The Olympics are nobody's personal affair, but a world event. An event special to Greece not only as the birthplace of the Olympic idea but also because of the participation of over 400 Greek athletes."


IOC medical commission head Arne Ljungqvist, who is also a senior vice president of the IAAF, said the whole affair was "unfortunate" but would not overshadow the athletics program, which begins in full Friday.

"I remember when Ben Johnson exploded in Seoul and people said it would be the end of track and field," he said. "I said the opposite. I said this is a chance to show how serious we are about stopping doping and that's what happened."

Kenteris, Olympic 200 meters gold medallist in Sydney, and Thanou, who won silver four years ago, are likely to face a lengthy ban if the IAAF, as expected, find they have broken anti-doping regulations by missing tests.

"With a sense of responsibility and national interest I am retiring from the Olympic Games," Kenteris said as he emerged from an IOC disciplinary hearing.

"It is very hard for an athlete to withdraw from the Games, especially when those Games are at home," said Thanou.

"My country has waited 108 years for the Games to come home. I want to apologize to the Greek people that I will not be at the Games, that I will not manage to race, and that is why I handed my accreditation into the IOC today."

The two athletes, who train together, have protested their innocence, broken with their coach Christos Tzekos and blamed sports officials for the mess. Tzekos has also withdrawn from the Games.

Kenteris said he had not been notified of last Thursday's dope test appointment.


After its emergency meeting the IOC said in a statement: "This decision means that (they) will not take part in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and that the IOC is no longer the authority responsible for issuing potential sanctions related to the Athens Olympic Games."

Having missed the eve-of-Games tests in the Olympic Village, the pair then checked into hospital after reporting a late-night motorcycle accident. Two postponed IOC hearings later, they emerged from hospital Tuesday to face the panel.

The IOC are in charge of testing before and during an Olympics but can ban athletes only from the Games themselves.

Under IAAF rules an athlete can be banned for two years for missing three out-of-competition tests during an 18-month period. A refusal or failure "without compelling justification" to be tested can also result in a ban, normally two years

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