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ATHENS 2004 | REPORT

Another Scandal for Hosts

August 21, 2004|From Associated Press

Greek weightlifter Leonidas Sampanis, a 137-pound bronze medalist at the Athens Games, tested positive for drugs in an initial sample -- another drug-related scandal for the host nation.

The International Olympic Committee told Greek officials Friday that an athlete had tested positive. Sampanis' testosterone levels reportedly were abnormally high.

"There is, at this time, a positive sample," Greek weightlifting Coach Christos Iakovou told an Athens television station. "This is the bad thing, and we must see how it happened. This is what we must find, how it happened.

"Was it because of his own natural testosterone levels? There are many things the doctors must tell us," he said. "It could be natural."

A backup sample is being tested to determine whether the initial findings are accurate.

The Olympics already have been tainted for the Greeks by the case of sprint stars Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou -- both medalists in 2000 -- who withdrew from competition after they missed a drug test and subsequently got into a motorcycle accident that is under investigation.

After the latest scandal, the head of the Greek Olympic team, Yiannis Papadoyiannakis, resigned for what a spokesman called "reasons of sensitivity." But the resignation was not accepted by the head of the Greek Olympic committee, Lambis Nikolaou.

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A panel of judges in Sonora, Calif., has denied an appeal by synchronized swimmer Tammy Crow of her conviction on two misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter.

Crow, 27, pleaded no contest in January to the charges and was sentenced to 90 days in Tuolumne County Jail.

The judge agreed to postpone her sentence until after the Olympics. But in March, Crow hired a new attorney who appealed her conviction and sentence. She contended her first lawyer never told her she could receive jail time with a no-contest plea.

On Wednesday, a panel of three Tuolumne and Calaveras county judges denied her appeal.

Crow is now in Athens preparing for next week's competition. She is scheduled to report to jail Oct. 25.

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France, Britain and the United States lodged a joint appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the decision that gave Germany the gold medal in the three-day team equestrian event. A verdict is expected today.

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