Fifteen Greek athletes tested positive for the same banned substance in what the president of the Hellenic Olympic Committee calls organized crime. One of Greece's best hopes in track and field, Fani Halkia, was sent home just hours before she was scheduled to run in the 400m hurdles. Halkia won gold in Athens and was expected to be a top contender in these games.
This is not the first trouble Greece has had this year with doping. In March, 11 Greek weightlifters tested positive for a banned substance and were suspended, missing the these Olympics. The weightlifters, their coaches and medical personnel are now facing misdemeanor charges. Weightlifting is incredibly popular in Greece, so this story strikes me as sadly similar to BALCO.
Minos Kyriakou, president of the HOC, called on his government to find a solution to the doping problem in Greece. If the Greeks don't want a similar reputation to the East Germans in the 80's, they need to put an end to the problem now.
Photo via Getty Images
- Hellenic Olympic Committee
- Fani Halkia