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Thursday 15, Jul 2010

  Two-year ban on Olympic Champion for testing positive

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Two-year ban on Olympic Champion for testing positiveFani Halkia, Greece’s former 400m hurdles Olympic champion, has been handed over a ban of two years for her positive dope test at the Beijing Games, according to an announcement by the Greek athletics federation.

The athletics federation confirmed the decision made by its judicial committee for awarding a punishment to the former star.

The International Olympic Committee hired legal representation in Greece and sued coach of Halkia for bringing damage to its reputation.

Monday 02, Nov 2009

  Banned athlete due to steroids use made to carry the Olympic torch

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Banned athlete due to steroids use made to carry the Olympic torchThe International Olympic Committee officials are not happy with the Greek Olympic Committee’s decision to let Greek Olympic hurdler, Fani Halkia, carry the torch during the torch relay through Greece.

Halkia was banned two years ago due to a positive test for an anabolic steroid, metribolone, at the Beijing Olympics. Metribolone is also known as methyltrienolone or R1881. It is a derivative of trenbolone and is a potent anabolic steroid. Metribolone, however, has a high potential for hepatotoxicity.

Halkia however, won a gold medal in Athens, so Greek Olympic officials considered her as one of the torchbearers for the Olympic torch relay. She won a gold medal in the women’s 400m hurdles in Athens. She set an Olympic record of 52.77 seconds during the semifinals.

During the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing on August last year, Halkia was announced to have tested positive for metribolone. She denied using such substance and requested a B sample to be tested the next day. Her B sample also yielded the same results. On December 12, 2008, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) finally announced that she would be banned from participating in any competition for two years.


Thursday 25, Dec 2008

  2008 most controversial doping cases

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steroidsThis year is Olympic year so it’s more interesting than the previous years as far as doping is concerned.

Remember the canny seven Russian track and field athletes who resorted to urine swapping to pass drug tests?

The International Association of the Athletics Federation officials became suspicious when said women athletes were always present for unannounced random tests. The Russians were also very punctual, arriving at testing places even before the IAAF officials got there.

“There were no ‘no shows’,” one official told Reuters. “The Russians were always there.”

So the officials started storing the athletes’ samples. Further investigation revealed that the latest urine samples provided by the athletes did not match the DNA of the stored samples. The Russians were later suspended. The athletes include Tatyana Tomashova, the two-time world 1,500 meters champion; and Yelena Soboleva, the world indoor 1,500 meters champion.

And who wouldn’t remember the Greek athletes who figured prominently in this year’s doping list because of quite a handful of failed dope tests.

In March, eleven of the 14 members of the Greek weightlifting team tested positive for the steroid methyltrienolone in out-of-competition testing in Athens. Then there was champion hurdler Fani Halkia, sprinter Dimitris Regas, and Anastasios Gousis who got banned for testing positive also for methyltrienolone. All Greek athletes were suspended for doping.

In Tour de France four riders, including the third finisher Bernhard Kohl, were suspended for testing positive for CERA, the new generation variant of the blood-boosting drug EPO

There was Marion Jones’ sprint in and out of jail for her use of performance-enhancing drugs and her involvement in a check fraud case. Jones began her six-month jail term March and was released September 5.

The NFL’s diuretic case also was in the news which involved several athletes who blamed the StarCaps weight-loss pill for their failed dope tests. Pat Williams and Kevin Williams of the Vikings were among the players who tested positive for the masking agent bumetanide.

The Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds anabolic steroids cases also dominated the sports scene in 2008 and are expected to remain in the headlines in 2009. The much-awaited Barry Bonds trial will commence March next year

Monday 03, Nov 2008

  Greek hurdler charged with steroid use

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greece steroidsFani Halkia was formally charged with steroid use and she could stay behind bars for up to two years if convicted.

George Panagiotopoulus, Halkia’s coach, was likewise charged with administering prohibited substances with a penalty up to three years imprisonment and around $26,000 in fine.

No trial date has been set for both cases. Under the Greek law, doping offenses are considered as misdemeanor.

The Greek sports authorities have been embarrassed by the doping activity of their athletes, calling the series of positive tests among the Greeks as “organized effort”. Fifteen athletes, including Halkia, tested positive for the anabolic steroid methyltrienolone, popularly known as M3.

Halkia was disqualified from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing when it was announced on August 18 that she tested positive for said steroid. She won the gold medal in the women’s 400m hurdles at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

Other athletes who tested positive for M3 were sprinters Tassos Gousis and Dimitris Regas. In March this year, 11 members of the Greek weightlifting team tested positive for the same prohibited compound.

M3, also known as R1881 and Metribolone, is a potent but non-aromatizable steroid. It is a 17-methylated derivative of trenbolone, and thus it is sometimes called as “oral tren”.

Wednesday 22, Oct 2008

  300 test results lost and found in Beijing; all are negative for steroids and other PEDs

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steroids-2008olympicsA big “OOOPS” from the anti-doping officials.

The 300 or so test results, which had initially been reported missing by a team of independent observers during their recent visit in Beijing, have been traced by the International Olympic Committee. All tested negative for prohibited compounds.

According to the AP report, the team of 10 observers had been tasked by the World Anti-Doping Agency to review the Beijing Olympics drug-testing program.  The missing test results had been included in the team’s final report to WADA.

“Once the laboratory had apparently delivered all reports to the IO (independent observer) team, it transpired that around 300 test results were missing in comparison to the doping control forms,” the WADA report said.

“Regarding the ‘300 missing tests,’ it is our understanding that there has been a communication problem between the Beijing laboratory and the IO team on the results of a number of tests,” IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau said in an e-mail. “The results of these tests were communicated to the IOC by the end of August. All were negative. The results have now been transmitted to the IO team.”

Apparently, the team conferred with the IOC’s medical commission regarding said results’ status, but IOC was unable to finish processing of the lab results in time for the group’s completion of their final report last month.

The procedural lapse had put the credibility of the anti-doping program in the Beijing Olympics. Additionally, the team reported another significant loophole in IOC’s control doping process at the Beijing Olympics.  It was found out that 102 of the 205 participating countries failed to provide sports officials with whereabouts information regarding their athletes. Such information is needed to implement pre-Games and out-of-competition testing.

It was not all negative points for the IOC however. The WADA group gave their thumbs up to the increased number of overall tests (4,770), blood tests (969) and tests for EPO (817) and human growth hormone (471). The 2008 Olympics implemented the largest drug-testing program in the history of the Olympics.

Six athletes were thrown out for doping violations during the Olympics, and three other cases are still pending.

The most controversial case of doping at Beijing has been Fani Halkia, the Greek hurdler who won the gold at the at the women’s 400m hurdles at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. On August 16 at the Beijing Olympics, Halkia tested positive for the anabolic steroidss methytrienolone.

Wednesday 08, Oct 2008

  Two Greek athletes challenge doping cases

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Greece_olympics_steroidsGreek track athletes Anastasios “Tassos” Gousis and Fani Halkia had presented a case against unnamed individuals who were allegedly responsible for the two athletes’ failed steroid tests.

Gousis told a prosecutor last week that he was unaware that he was given performance-enhancing drugs. He was supposed to compete at the 200 meter-event in Beijing Summer Olympics, but was sent home from a pre-Olympic training camp in Japan because he tested positive for the anabolic steroid methyltrienolone (also known as M3) in his A-sample on August 8. The test was conducted by the Greek anti-doping agency.

“Gousis said he didn’t know anything about the supplements he was taking and that no athlete would put his career at risk days before the Olympics,” a court official, who refused to be named, told Reuters.

The 29-year-old sprinter stated that their lives (his and Halkia’s) were put in danger by those individuals who administered the drugs without their knowledge, according top court officials.

Halkia also tested for M3 August 16 during the Beijing Olympics. The Greek hurdler initially denied the she has taken any illicit compounds and requested that her B-sample be tested. The next day her B-sample also tested positive.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has filed a lawsuit against Halkia’s coach, George Panagiotopoulos, who presented himself before prosecutor last week and said she had never deliberately taken performance-enhancing steroids.

Saturday 06, Sep 2008

  Greek athletes tried to outsmart IOC with ‘rare’ steroid

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olympics steroids greeceThe doping outbreak in the country’s Olympic team already resulted in a judicial inquiry in Greece. It also urged its parliament to enact tougher anti-doping legislation.

Under the new regulations, reward cuts for athletes and harsher penalties against those guilty of supplying banned substances and corrupt anti-doping and sports officials will be imposed.

Fifteen Greek athletes have tested positive for methyltrienolone before and during the Beijing Olympics. Out of the 15 athletes, eleven were from the weightlifting team who tested positive for M3 in an out-of-competition screening in March this year.

The most prominent of these controversial athletes is Fani Halkia, who won the silver in hurdling in Beijing. She was later disqualified and stripped of that medal.

Tuesday 02, Sep 2008

  IOC takes firmer stance on Greek team’s steroid controversy

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So that the world of sports would know that the International Olympic Committee means business when it comes to cleaning up the Games of wayward athletes and coaches, it has taken a special interest on the steroid scandal involving yet another Greek athlete.

The IOC has filed a lawsuit against George Panagiotopoulos, coach of former Olympic champion hurdler Fani Halkia. Halkia was one of the six athletes who were disqualified from the Beijing Olympics because of doping violation.

According to IOC’s lawyer Petros Mahas, the organization had already provided its evidence to prosecutors in Greece to bring charges against Panagiotopoulos relating to the country’s anti-doping laws.

“We submitted the lawsuit against Mr Panagiotopoulos and any other responsible parties,” Mahas said. “The IOC’s target is not the athletes, but the coaches who supply them with drugs.”

The 29-year-old Halkia tested for the anabolic steroid methyltrienolone in early August before she headed for Beijing. She could receive a two-year ban from the sport.

And here’s the staggering statistics courtesy of the Greek Olympic team – 19 athletes, including Halkia, had tested positive for banned compounds before and during the Games.

In March, eleven of the 14 Greek weightlifters tested positive also for methyltrienolone in an out-of-competition screening in Athens. If this is not systematic doping, we don’t know what is.

Because of this embarrassing incident the International Weightlifting Federation had reportedly fined the Greek weightlifting federation amounting to $387,000.

Consequently, a Greek prosecutor had filed misdemeanor charges against the eleven athletes, team coach Christos Iakovou and 13 other individuals involved in the doping incident.

Thus, the IOC is now particularly critical of Greek anti-doping programs.

“The IOC wants to actively participate in the fight against doping in Greece,” Mahas added. “It is the first time the IOC requests a country’s legal authorities to investigate the criminal accountability of a trainer who doped athletes.”

Wednesday 20, Aug 2008

  Another Greek athlete tested positive for a banned steroid

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Greece_olympics_steroidsWe all know how great Greeks are in diverse fields – philosophy, literature, science and arts, to name just a few.  And because of the Greek diaspora, it has been said that many civilizations across the globe had developed because of the influence of the Greeks.

But these days, however, the Greeks have been losing their distinction especially in the world of sports. This is being witnessed in the ongoing Olympics – which is another Greek’s contribution to the world – as members of the Greek team continue to decrease because of use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. The latest ‘casualty’ is runner Fani Halkia, who tested positive for the anabolic steroid methyltrienolone. AP reports.

A Greek TV station says Fani Halkia, who won gold in the women’s 400 meters hurdles at the 2004 Athens Olympics, has tested positive for a banned substance.

Skai TV also said Saturday that Halkia has already left the Olympic village.

Another Greek station, Mega Channel, also said an athlete had tested positive for the banned steroid methyltrienolone. But it did not name the athlete.

Halkia was tested a few days before the Beijing Olympics in Japan, where Greece’s track and field team had been training.

Tuesday 19, Aug 2008

  HOC president says use of steroids “likely to be widespread”

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Beijing-2008-Summer-Olympics-SteroidsIt took so long for the International Olympic Committee to realize that organized doping is the reason why the Greek athletes are now being considered as endangered species. The Greek Olympic team’s ranks continue to diminish as the Summer Games in Beijing push on because their athletes have been found out to be using the anabolic steroid methyltrienolone.

Really, it doesn’t take a genius to arrive at the conclusion that there exists a systematic doping within the Greek team. You’ve got 15 athletes, all from one team, and all testing positive for one banned substance – that’s in-your-face-doping.

Excerpts from the AP report.

Organized doping is likely behind a recent spate of positive drug tests in Greek sports, the president of the country’s Olympic Committee said Monday.

“There are 15 people, all with the same substance. This is the strangest thing, because it leads to the conclusion that there is an organized effort,” Minos Kyriakou told The Associated Press.

The athletes — 11 weightlifters, three runners and a swimmer — all tested positive for methyltrienolone, a banned steroid.

“There is an organized crime — because that is what this is called,” Kyriakou said. “Because it seems there is a lot of money hidden there, a lot of profit.”

The Hellenic Olympic Committee president stopped short of making a direct accusation as to who could be behind a system of doping, but said the state must crack down on the practice.
In the latest embarrassment for Greece, reigning women’s 400-meter hurdles champion Fani Halkia was sent home from Beijing on Sunday, hours before her scheduled heats, after testing positive for methyltrienolone. Her test was conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency at a Greek team training camp in Japan on Aug. 10.

The scandal broke in Beijing on Sunday, the day that Greece won its first three medals — silver in men’s rowing and a bronze each in women’s sailing and women’s triple-jump.
Halkia denied any wrongdoing, telling Greek reporters in Beijing she was “shocked” that she had tested positive.

But Kyriakou had harsh words about the athlete.

“I don’t talk about dead people,” he said. “Whoever does such things, gets mixed up in such things, commits suicide. And when someone wants to commit suicide, nobody can stop them.”
The 11 weightlifters, who not been named publicly, tested positive for methyltrienolone months before the Olympics, and the steroid was also found in tests on swimmer Yannis Drymonakos, 400-meter runner Dimitrios Regas and sprinter Tassos Gousis.
“Of course it has to be organized, when there are so many cases with the same substance,” Kyriakou said.

The HOC president said the problem of doping was likely to be widespread.