Advanced Search  


Greek weightlifter stripped of medal
Updated: 2004-08-22 16:39

Greek weightlifter Leonidas Sampanis, Greece's first medal winner at the Athens Olympics, was stripped of his bronze medal and excluded from the Games Sunday for a doping offense, another big blow for the host nation which is welcoming the homecoming Olympics.

The new embarrassment came just four days after top sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou withdrew from the Games in a scandal over missed drug tests.

It was the first medal to be stripped from an athlete in Athensbecause of doping.

So far, more than 1,500 tests have been conducted out of the 3,000 tests that the IOC is expected to conduct throughout the period of the Games. Nine weightlifters, including Sampanis, havefailed drug tests.

Sampanis, 32, who won a bronze medal in the 137-pound (62kg) category Monday after taking silver at the previous two Olympics, was disqualified by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board after being tested positive.

On Saturday, Sampanis protested his innocence in a nationally televised speech.

"Honestly, I can say that for the last 10 years, the time that I have been a weightlifter, I never used this kind of drug," he said while crying.

"I want to say to the Greek people that I swear to God and on my two children I never used this kind of drug."

"I want you to believe me. I want you to stand by me," he added.

The IOC expelled Sampanis from the Games and ordered the Greek Olympic Committee to return the medal immediately.

Any other sanction, including a ban, will be decided by the International Weightlifting Federation.

Due to the expulsion of Sampanis, the fourth-place finisher, Venezuela's Israel Jose Rubio Rivero, was awarded the bronze. The gold and silver medals were taken by Chinese weightlifters Shi Zhiyong and Le Maosheng.





| Home | News | Business | Living in China | Forum | E-Papers | Weather |

| About Us | Contact Us | Site Map | Jobs |
©Copyright 2004 All rights reserved. Registered Number: 20100000002731