Organised Crime 'Behind Greek Swimmer's Downfall'
Craig Lord
The head of the Greek Olympic Committee is in no doubt that the case of Yiannis Drymonakos is part of a crime that transcends sport

Organised crime was behind the downfall of shamed European 200m butterfly champion Yiannis Drymonakos (GRE), who tested positive for methyltrienolone in May, was banned and had six months of results cancelled. That is the claim of the president of the Greece's Olympic Committee.

 The swimmer is one of 15 Greek athletes to fall foul of the steroid this year. "There are 15 people, all with the same substance. This is the strangest thing, because it leads to the conclusion that there is an organised effort," said Minos Kyriakou. "There is an organized crime — because that is what this is called. 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.

"I am neither a policeman nor a detective nor a judge. I don't have that knowledge, and I think that the time has come for the state to (do something) and find a solution. I believe that if they want to, they will find it. And I believe they do want to."

In the latest embarrassment for Greece, reigning women's 400m  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.

Kyriakou condemned the athlete: "I don't talk about dead people. Whoever does such things, gets mixed up in such things, commits suicide. And when someone wants to commit suicide, nobody can stop them."

He added: "Of course it has to be organized, when there are so many cases with the same substance. I believe these substances are given in most sports - supplied to the naive, because someone who knows that this could lead them to death doesn't try it."