Born in Mytilene, 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; he was eliminated in the heats of both the indoor and outdoor World Championships. Because of this, few people had heard of Kenteris when he surprised by qualifying for the 200 m final at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Although defending Olympic champion Michael Johnson had retired, and reigning World Champion Maurice Greene didn't compete, nobody had included Kenteris in his list of medal favourites. But Kenteris raced to the gold medal, denying Britain's Darren Campbell and Ato Boldon of Trinidad and Tobago.
He also won the 200 m title at the 2001 World Championships and in Edmonton in 2003, after a season where he mostly stayed out of international competition. The following year, Kenteris completed his trilogy 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, claiming to have been injured in a motorcycle accident. 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. Their coach Christos Tsekos was also suspended.
After a long legal battle, on June 26, 2006 before the Court of Arbitration for Sport the Greek athletes, accepted anti-doping rule violations of 3 missed tests between 27 July and 12 August 2004 (in breach of Rule 32.2(d)) and a failure to provide a urine and a blood sample on 12 August 2004 (in breach of Rule 32.2(c)). They are re-eligible to compete since 22 December 2006
Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire
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