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Greece’s Thanou possible 2000 Olympics 100m champion October 8, 2007

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Greek sprinter Ekaterini Thanou, involved in a doping controversy ahead of the 2004 Olympics, could retrospectively take the 100m gold medal for the Sydney 2000 Olympics after the winner, American sprinter Marion Jones, admitted to doping, AFP reports.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Monday it is awaiting the decision of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) before deciding on whether to strip Jones of her five Sydney 2000 Olympic medals.

“If the disciplinary body of the IAAF finds that she was not eligible for Sydney then the disciplinary commission of the IOC will take up the case,” said an IOC spokesman, adding the American could lose her gold medals for the 100m, 200m and 4x400m and bronze in both the 4x100m and the long jump.

If Jones is stripped of her 100m gold medal then logically the runner up Thanou should take the medal. However Thanou and her compatriot sprinter Kostas Kenteris were at the centre of doping controversy just before the Athens Olympics which resulted in a two-year suspension after they missed three doping tests. A Greek court on September 24 deferred until next June the perjury trial of Thanou and Kenteris over the mysterious motorcycle accident which led them to miss doping tests.

On Friday after months of denials, Jones pleaded guilty in court to lying to a federal agent about her use of banned steroids between September 2000 and July 2001. The Sydney Olympics were held on September 15. US Olympic Committee chairman Peter Ueberroth on Friday welcomed Jones’s “overdue” confession, and called on her to return her Olympic medals without waiting for sports officials to take them away.

Jones also faces being stripped by IAAF of her world championship medals comprising the 200m gold and the 100m silver in 2001. For this last event it is again Thanou who will benefit. The anti-doping regulations prescribe an eight-year limit after an offence for disciplinary proceeding to be launched which would be September 2008 for the Sydney Olympics.

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New Zealand’s Gemmell victorious in Rhodes, Greece October 7, 2007

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The New Zealand triathlete Kris Gemmell led from the start of the bike leg to secure his third BG Triathlon World Cup victory with a commanding win in Greece yesterday.

The world number five imposed his aggressive race plan on the rest of the field early in the bike leg, quickly establishing a substantial break on a world class group of triathletes including former World Champion Ivan Rana of Spain.

The huge effort on the bike did not show as Gemmell immediately went to work, with just the 18-year-old Alistair Brownlee of the UK able to stay with the hot pace from the Kiwi number two.

After running side by side for the bulk of the ten kilometre distance with Brownlee, Gemmell surged away with apparent ease in the final 200 metres to score yet another win for a New Zealander in World Cup racing this year.

Meanwhile fellow Kiwi Blair Jordan struggled to make an impact in the hot conditions in Rhodes and eventually withdrew from the event.

Scott Jurek wins Athens-to-Sparta ultramarathon October 1, 2007

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Scott Jurek wins Athens-to-Sparta ultramarathon race in 23:12.14 > Runner-up Piotr Kurylo of Poland, the event’s longtime leader who was overtaken late in the race by Jurek, kissed the statue of the Spartan King Leonidas after crossing the finish line in 24:29.41. Valmir Nunes of Brazil was third, more than a minute further back.

Scott Jurek of the USA won his second straight Spartathlon ultramarathon race on Saturday, clocking 23 hours, 12 minutes and 14 seconds along the 246-kilometer (152.8-mile) route from Athens to Sparta, the course first followed 2,500 years ago by the legendary messenger Pheidippides.

Jurek overtook longtime leader Piotr Kurylo in the latter stages, with the Polish runner finishing in 24:29.41. Valmir Nunes of Brazil was third, more than a minute behind.

The 33-year-old American, who is based in Seattle, was among 332 runners who started in the annual race Friday at the foot of the Acropolis. The route runs along highways, rural roads and poorly lit mountain paths before reaching the southern Greek city.

“It was tougher than last year,” Jurek said. “This time, I tried a different tactic and followed the other athletes before picking up the pace [near the end]. I took the lead and it was easier after that,” added the winner, who had clocked 22:52.13 in last year’s Spartathlon victory.

According to the ancient historian Herodotus, who recorded the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC, Pheidippides left Athens in search of reinforcement troops and arrived in Sparta “one day later.”

In 1982, John Foden of Britain sought to prove a man could complete the run and finished it in less than 36 hours, preparing the ground for the annual race.

Greek-born runner Yiannis Kouros holds the course record of 20 hours, 25 minutes, which he set in 1984, a year after the annual race began.

The Spartathlon ends at the statue of Spartan King Leonidas, who is portrayed in the 2007 movie “300.” After his win, Jurek was crowned with an olive wreath and given a bowl of water from the local Evrotas River.

Seattle’s Jurek wins Greece’s Spartathlon September 30, 2007

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Ultramarathoner covers 152.4 miles in less than 24 hours > Scott Jurek of Seattle captured his second straight Spartathlon ultramarathon in Greece on Saturday, winning a 152.4-mile race that attempts to retrace the journey of the legendary messenger Pheidippides 2,500 years ago.

Jurek completed the run from Athens to Sparta in 23 hours, 12 minutes, 14 seconds.

He was among 332 runners at the foot of the Acropolis on Friday to start the race. The route covers highways, rural roads and mountain paths.

Jurek won last year’s event in 22:52:18 and owns the fifth- and sixth-fastest winning times in Spartathlon history. The first international Spartathlon was in 1983.

Spartathlon > Jurek wins second consecutive ultra-marathon race September 29, 2007

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American Scott Jurek won the 245.3km ultra-marathon Spartathlon race here on Saturday for the second year in a row.

The 33-year-old from Seattle timed 23hr 12min 14sec. Last year he clocked 22:52:13.

The race traces the classical route of Pheidippides, an Athenian messenger sent to Sparta in 490 BC to seek help against the Persians in the Battle of Marathon.

The Spartathlon is one of the world’s most gruelling races, running over rough tracks and muddy paths, crossing vineyards and olive groves, steep hillsides and, most challenging of all, the 1,200m ascent and descent of Mount Parthenio in the dead of night. This year’s race started at the Acropolis in Athens on Friday and ended in the southern Greek town of Sparta. A record 323 runners participated in the 25th edition of the race.

The top 10 finishers > 1. Scott Jurek (USA) 23:12 2. Piotr Kyrulo (POL) 24:29 3. Valmir Nunes (BRA) 25:37 4. Jens Lukas (GER) 25:48 5. Markus Thalmann (AUS) 26:34 6. Eusebio Bochons (ESP) 27:40 7. Nobumi Iwamoto (JPN) 28:17 8. Takehiro Matsushita (JPN) 28:36 9. William Sichel (GBR) 29:01 10. Ryoichi Sato (JPN) 29:25

Sparthathlon started in Athens on Friday morning September 28, 2007

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The 246-kilometre Spartathlon, an ultramarathon race tracking the route taken by ancient Athenian runner Pheidippides in 490 BC when he was sent to request Sparta’s help against the oncoming Persian hordes, started in central Athens on Friday with 323 athletes taking part.

spartathlon_starting_point.jpg  Runners set out Friday to complete the 152.8-mile Spartathlon, an ultramarathon race from Athens to Sparta that traces a route by the messenger Pheidippides 2,500 years ago. The race kicked off at 7:00 on Friday morning in front of the Acropolis and will end in front of the statue of King Leonidas in Sparta, where the first athletes are expected to arrive on Saturday morning.

spartathlon.jpg  The Spartathlon is considered one of the most difficult ultra-long-distance races in the world and one that is also notable for its historic background. The exclusive sponsor of the race is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. This year, however, the Sparta Municipality has confined itself to a simple and solemn reception and award ceremony for the athletes taking part as a sign of respect for the extensive destruction suffered in the Peloponnese during August’s destructive fires. The award ceremony will be held in the town’s central square on Saturday night.

Most of the route runs through the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece and will include areas that were damaged by massive wildfires last month that killed at least 67 people.

According to ancient historian Herodotus, who recorded the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C., Pheidippides left Athens in search of reinforcement troops and arrived in Sparta “one day later.”

In 1982, John Foden of Britain sought to prove a man could complete the run and finished it in under 36 hours, preparing the ground for the annual race.

World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships ended today in Patras September 23, 2007

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World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships ended today in Patras, Greece > Russia wins team all-around, takes 6th gold at rhythmic gymnastics worlds

Defending champion Russia won the team all-around event Saturday for its sixth gold medal in the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships. Margarita Aliychuk, Anna Gavrilenko, Tatiana Gorbunova, Elena Posevina, Daria Shkurikhina and Natalia Zueva scored a total 35.100 points in the exercises, 17.650 in the five ropes routine and 17.450 in the three hoops and two clubs events.

Italy won the silver with 34.250 points, while Belarus was third with 33.800, repeating the podium positions from the worlds in Baku, Azerbaijan, two years ago. The eight top-scoring teams in each exercise will compete in the group apparatus finals on Sunday, the championships’ closing day.

The 10 best teams qualify for the Beijing Olympics next year, while the International Gymnastics Federation allocated a further two wildcards to Brazil and Greece.

Related Links > http://www.rgworld-patras2007.gr/contents/index_en/index.html