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Konstantinos "Kostas" Kenteris, also spelled as Konstadinos "Costas" Kederis (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος "Κώστας" Κεντέρης pronounced [konsta'dinos ce'deris]; born July 11, 1973) is a former Greek athlete. He won gold medals in the 200 metres at the 2000 Summer Olympics, the 2001 World Championships in Athletics and the 2002 European Championships in Athletics, making him the only European sprinter (along with Linford Christie) to win the gold medal in all three major competitions and the only European World Champion in the 200 metres races. Additionally, he has won two gold, three silver and two bronze medals in the European Cup, as well as three gold medals in the 200 metres at the Athens Grand Prix Tsiklitiria. He is also a 14-time golden medalist at the Greek Athletics Championships and a five-time golden medalist at the Greek Indoor Athletics Championships. He withdrew from the 2004 Summer Olympics, held in his home country, after a doping violation (failed to attend drug test).

Konstantinos Kenteris
Personal information
Full name Konstantinos Kenteris
Nationality  Greece
Born July 11, 1973 (age 45)
Mytilene, Greece
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Weight 73 kg (161 lb)
Sport 100 metres, 200 metres, 400 metres,

4 x 100 metres relay,

4 x 400 metres relay

College team Arion Mytilene
Club Olympiakos CFP
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 100 m: 10.15
200 m: 19.85 CR, EL, NR, SB
400 m: 45.60


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. His first national titles were the three consecutive 400 m gold medals at the Greek Athletics Championships (1991 (46.90), 1992 (46.85), 1993 (46.27)) in Athens and the 200 m (21.57) and 400 m (47.76) gold medals at the 1993 Greek Indoor Athletics Championships in Piraeus, representing the team of his home town, Arion Mytilene. He also competed at the 1992 World Junior Championships in Seoul, where he finished 6th in 200 m (21.10). His first major international title was the 400 m gold medal at the 1993 Mediterranean Games in Narbonne, with a time of 45.70. In 1994 he won again the 200 m (20.93) and 400 m (46.73) gold medals at the 1994 Greek Indoor Athletics Championships in Piraeus. He repeated his success in the 400 m races by winning the gold medal at the 1996 Greek Indoor Athletics Championships, with a time of 47.11. In 1997 he moved to Athens and to Olympiacos CFP, with whom he won the 4 × 100 m relay gold (40.86) at the 1997 Greek Athletics Championships in Athens. He repeated his success the following year, when he won the 400 m (45.87) and 4 × 400 m relay (3:11.95) gold medals at the 1998 Greek Athletics Championships in Athens.

It was not until 1998 that Kenteris took part in his first major international tournaments, when he took the 9th place (semi finals) in both 400 m (45.74) and 4 × 400 m relay (3:06.48) at the 1998 European Championships in Budapest. He also took the 7th place at the 1998 IAAF World Cup in Johannesburg, representing the European team in the 4 × 400 m relay races (3:03.95). In 1999 he continued by winning the 200 m (20.60) and 400 m (45.82) golden medals at the 1999 Greek Athletics Championships in Athens. His first European success was when he won the 400 m bronze medal at the 1999 European Cup in Paris, with a time of 45.66. While he was eliminated in the 400 m heats of the indoor world championships, he returned that summer as a 200 m runner at the Outdoor World Championships in Seville. Kenteris won his heat # 5, defeating then 100 m world record holder Maurice Greene, but did not start the quarter-finals due to injury. The following year he won the 4 × 100 m relay gold (40.46) at the 2000 Greek Athletics Championships in Athens and returned to win the 4 × 100 m relay silver (38.67) and the 200 m bronze (20.48) at the 2000 European Cup in Gateshead.

Although he had established himself as a medal winning national and European sprinter, 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 and reigning World champion Maurice Greene did not compete, nobody had included Kenteris in his list of medal favourites, despite his being the fastest European at 200 m that summer with a 20.25 seconds from June. But Kenteris raced to the gold medal with a time of 20.09, 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 metres sprinting medal at the Olympics since Pietro Mennea achieved the feat by winning the gold at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. He also competed in the 4 × 100 m relay qualifying, but failed to reach the finals and took the 9th place (38.80).

In 2001 Kenteris won his first gold medal in 100 m (10.21) at the 2001 Greek Athletics Championships in Athens. Success continued, as Kenteris won his first 200 m gold medal (20.31) and a silver medal in 100 m (10.15 PB) at the 2001 European Cup in Bremen and the 200 m gold at the 2001 Athens Grand Prix Tsiklitiria, with a performance of 20.10. He also won the 200 m title (20.04) at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton, after a season where he mostly stayed out of international competition. The following year he won the 200 m (20.18) and 4 × 400 m relay (3:14.48) golden medals at the 2002 Greek Athletics Championships in Trikala. Kenteris completed his trilogy by also winning the European title at the 2002 European Athletics Championships in Munich, with a time of 19.85, his personal best. This performance still stands as the European Championships record in 200 metres, as well as the national record. The next year, Kenteris took place at the 2003 European Cup in Florence, where he won the 200 m gold (20.37) and the 4 × 400 m relay silver (3:02.69). Upon returning in Athens, he won the 200 m gold (20.30) at the 2003 Athens Grand Prix Tsiklitiria.

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, as he had won the 100 m (10.18) and 4 × 100 m relay (41.16) gold medals at the 2004 Greek Championship in Athens and the 200 m gold (20.27) at the 2004 Athens Grand Prix Tsiklitiria, just one month before the Summer Olympics. 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".

Kenteris retired from athletics and disappeared from the public eye following his withdrawal. After his retirement, Kenteris was offered an honorary officer position in the Hellenic Air Force by the Greek state, but he quit in 2011. In May 2011 he was (along with Thanou) given a suspended jail sentence of 31 months, after being charged with staging the crash, but an appeals court overturned this ruling.[1] NEL Lines highspeed ships Aeolos Kenteris, Aeolos Kenteris I and Aeolos Kenteris II bear his name, while in his hometown Mytilene he has a street and a stadium named after him. In Greece he is known as "The Son of the Wind" ("Ο Γιος του Ανέμου"), due to his extreme speed.

Personal bests

Date Event Venue Performance
23 June 2001 100 metres Bremen, Germany 10.15
9 August 2002 200 metres Munich, Germany 19.85 CR, EL, NR
27 July 1998 400 metres Thessaloniki, Greece 45.60
9 February 2000 200 metres (indoor) Peiraias, Greece 20.80
13 February 1999 400 metres (indoor) Peiraias, Greece 46.36 NR


Macur, Juliet (6 September 2011). "Peculiar Doping Case Takes Another Twist". New York Times. Retrieved 15 August 2016.

External links

Konstantinos Kenteris at IAAF
Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Konstantinos Kenteris". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC.
Official Website
IOC decision regarding the cases of Konstantinos Kenteris and Ekatarina Thanou Press release, August 18, 2004

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