Olympics-Greek jumper would not risk career suicide, lawyer says

ATHENS, July 26 Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:35am EDT

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ATHENS, July 26 (Reuters) - Greek high jumper Dimitris Chondrokoukis would never commit career "suicide" by taking banned substances days before the Olympics and plans to undergo a second test to prove his innocence, the athlete's lawyer said on Thursday.

Chondrokoukis, one of Greece's best hopes for a medal in track and field, has pulled out of the London Olympics after testing positive for Stanozolol, an anabolic steroid made notorious by Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

"How can it be possible that an athlete who is preparing for the Olympic games, who won the world championship two months ago and who is being tested every week, has taken a substance that is also the most easily detectable in the banned substances' list," his lawyer Yannis Marakakis told Reuters on Thursday.

"This is not his way, he didn't need it and would never embarrass his family just before the Olympics. I don't think that he would commit suicide so easily."

The 24-year-old high jumper has already asked for a retest, Marakakis said, and the results are expected on Monday.

"If the result is confirmed, if the substance is detected in Dimitris' body we will test the food he consumed and any supplements he has taken thoroughly," he said.

"It has happened in the past, mainly abroad, that some substances were adulterated."

His exit is the second blow for Greece's Olympic hopes in as many days, after triple jumper Paraskevi Papachristou was withdrawn from the London team on Wednesday for a tweet on Africans in Greece that was slammed as racist.

"He believes that this is the tombstone of his athletic career, but I have serious doubts about that," Marakakis said of Chondrokoukis.

"I wouldn't take it for granted that such a talented and young athlete would quit due to this." (Reporting by Renee Maltezou, editing by Alan Baldwin)

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